On This Hilltop

Sue Hubbell, Author Ballantine Books $10 (195p) ISBN 978-0-345-37306-9
Prompted by back-to-the-land idealism and political disenchantment, Hubbell ( A Book of Bees ) escaped mainstream life in the 1970s by moving with her husband to the the Missouri Ozarks, cherishing ``a desire to live cheaply, certain Maoist tendencies, and . . . a consuming fixation about growing our own vegetables.''xi A collection of succinct, charming essays written originally for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch , this book tells of Hubbell's lot as a novice beekeeping farmer amid Ozarkers, whose men ``do not brook interference from women in important matters relating to dogs, guns, or auto mechanics,''13 and hippies, who garden by moonlight. Her renegade rooster makes a colorful appearance--impelled by an inferiority complex to attack ``non-chicken creatures''7 --along with an Irish setter that pk broods fledgling chicks and an unforgettable pickup truck, Press On Regardless10 , usually in need of vital mechanical parts. In simple and gently ironic fashion, Hubbell treats her country materials with a healthy dose of cynicism as she ranges from the hazards of sweet corn agribusiness to the joys of raking daisy hay. On occasion, her humor becomes overly arch for her modest subjects, but readers are generally in for a treat. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991
Release date: 09/01/1991
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