cover image The Memory of Old Jack

The Memory of Old Jack

Wendell Berry, . . Christian Audio, $23.98 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-596-44446-1

Poet, essayist and fiction writer Wendell Berry has established himself as the consummate writer's writer. His grounding in agrarian themes—both sociologically insightful and intimately personal—harks back to the rich tradition of Faulkner. Over the past four decades, Berry has built an impressive body of novels and short stories devoted to the fictional rural hamlet of Port William, located in his home state of Kentucky. First published in 1974, The Memory of Old Jack recounts the last days in the life of 92-year-old farmer Jack Beechum in the fall of 1952, as the self-sufficient man of the soil contemplates both his heartaches and triumphs. Veteran narrator Paul Michael brings Jack's meandering journey between the present and past into crystal-clear focus. His portrayal of the emotionally and sexually barren terrain of Jack's relationship with his wife, Ruth, evokes especially powerful angst concerning the disconnect between dutiful obligation and romantic passion. This audiobook release offers an excellent venue for new audiences to discover Berry, a seminal literary figure whose gifted storytelling challenges, provokes, inspires and affirms. A Counterpoint Press paperback. (May)