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That Distant Land: The Collected Stories [Paperback]

Our Price $ 16.11  
Retail Value $ 18.95  
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Item Number 395196  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   440
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.01" Width: 6.01" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 10, 2005
Publisher   Shoemaker & Hoard
ISBN  159376054X  
EAN  9781593760540  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Brings together three collections of inspirational fiction including The Wild Birds (1985), Fidelity (1992), and Watch With Me (1994), as well as four new pieces that chronicle the life and times of the inhabitants of Port William. Reprint.

Publishers Description
"That Distant Land" includes twenty-three stories from Wendell Berry's Port William membership. Arranged in their fictional chronology, the book shines forth as a single sustained work, not simply an anthology. It reveals Wendell Berry as a literary master capable of managing an imaginative integrity over decades of writing with a multitude of characters followed over several generations. Combining "The Wild Birds" (1985), "Fidelity" (1992), and "Watch With Me" (1994), and including four never-before-collected stories and a map of Port William, this book offers rest for the weary, hope for the beleaguered, and strength for the rest of us.

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More About Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry WENDELL BERRY was born in Henry County, Kentucky, in 1934. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Kentucky in 1956 and continued on to complete a master’s degree in 1957. In 1958, he received a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University.

Berry has taught at Stanford University, Georgetown College, New York University, the University of Cincinnati, and Bucknell University. He taught at his alma mater, the University of Kentucky from 1964-77, and again from 1987-93.

The author of more than 40 works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, Wendell Berry has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (1962), the Vachel Lindsay Prize from Poetry (1962), a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship (1965), a National Institute of Arts and Letters award for writing (1971), the Emily Clark Balch Prize from The Virginia Quarterly Review (1974), the American Academy of Arts and Letters Jean Stein Award (1987), a Lannan Foundation Award for Non-Fiction (1989), Membership in the Fellowship of Southern Writers (1991), the Ingersoll Foundation's T. S. Eliot Award (1994), the John Hay Award (1997), the Lyndhurst Prize (1997), and the Aitken-Taylor Award for Poetry from The Sewanee Review (1998). His books include the novel Hannah Coulter (2004), the essay collections Citizenship Papers (2005) and The Way of Ignorance (2006), and Given: Poems (2005), all available from Counterpoint. Berry's latest works include The Mad Farmer Poems (2008) and Whitefoot (2009), which features illustrations by Davis Te Selle.

He lives and works with his wife, Tanya Berry, on their farm in Port Royal, Kentucky.

Wendell Berry currently resides in the state of Kentucky. Wendell Berry was born in 1934.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( B ) > Berry, Wendell   [24  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary   [78538  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary   [246863  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories > General   [5889  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
First-rate.  May 18, 2008
Wendell Berry's fictional town of Port William, Kentucky has proven to be fertile ground for a legacy of graceful, lovely stories about the place and its citizens. Berry has a knack for honing in on the key moments in his protagonists' lives when they reach very personal revelations about themselves and those around them. Add to this a gentleness of style, whether the stories are funny, tragic and/or all points inbetween, and you have narratives that stay with you after you've finished reading them.

This collection of stories about Port William spans the late 19th century to the tail-end of the 20th century. Most of the stories have been anthologized in other collections, but taken together here in chronological order, this anthology makes for a novel-like whole about people, their town and their ways of life that are either gone or gradually disappearing. Rather than sadness, though, the overall sense I get from Berry's tales is one of gratitude that such lives and such times came to pass and that they could be chronicled.

Idealized and parochial visions? Perhaps, but in a USA that these days seems so broadly fragmented across social, political and geographic lines, and where so much time and energy is spent detailing the worst aspects of an American dream gone wrong, it's heartening to read fiction by someone who remembers the good if flawed humanity that we all possess. This anthology and Berry's other fiction about Port William are storytelling at it's best. Recommended.
Souls of the soil  Dec 30, 2007
Wendell Berry reveals the hardy Depression-era souls of the Kentucky soil in their intimate rhythms of survival and subsistence. Stretched to their limits by the harshness of tedious labor, they remain decent, sociable, collaborative, resilient, and committed. Their modest dreams are often crushed, but they persist by honoring the traditions of their ancestors.
The Port William Membership  Aug 14, 2007
As surely as the Kentucky River runs through the fictional community of Port William, so the theme of "Membership" runs through these wonderful Port William stories by Wendell Berry. He writes of membership in family, in community, in human industry, in each others' lives, in the past, in the present.

This collection of short stories centers on those now-oldest residents of an up-to-mid-20th century Kentucky farming community who still are of an age to remember and of a bent to cherish ancestral roots, traditions, and habits, and by so doing have brought the past along with them to familiarize and to endear the present. These slices-of-life accounts lovingly highlight a community's stories that have, in their joyful retelling, become part of its lore. They laughingly reminisce over both the serious and silly everyday dilemmas of past-unintended folly. They record the ingrained farm-work ethic of a time now likely gone forever. They revel in relationships of ordinary people doing ordinary things with family and neighbors. And, yes, these stories even include occasions of deaths of and among loved ones of the "membership." It is not the events, themselves, however, that are exceptional; it is Berry's telling of them.

Having read Jayber Crow, Hannah Coulter, The Memory of Old Jack and now That Distant Land, I feel as if I have been poring through family albums that have been unearthed from Port William, KY. And from these I have come to know several generations of strong, gentle, principled people whose lives, by choice, have been pretty remote and mostly detached from the rest of a changing world. These are people of good heart who are intimately linked to each others' care and well-being. This carefully constructed fictional genealogy of the Port William membership comes from an author who, to say the very least, certainly has a way with words! Even if you have not read any of Wendell Berry's work, you will nevertheless be enchanted, I believe, and drawn into the sweetness and the cadence of these beautifully told tales of family, heritage, community, and, of course, membership.
Berry's work consistently satisfying  Aug 9, 2005
I have deeply loved all of Berry's fiction. That Distant Land is particularly satisfying for showing the unfolding of many of his characters in a linear historical progression. The wealth of inter-relations and the handy genealogical tree of the characters brings all the characters into a full richness.
That Distant Way of Life  Aug 6, 2005
As usual, Wendell Berry continues to prove his place in the American literary tradition; if only his place were more widely recognized. His prose flows onto the page as natural as flowers spring from the soil or rain falls from the sky. I think that is an apt comparison since many of his stories consider the relationship between man and nature. "That Distant Land" is a collection of twenty-three stories, many of which have been published previously. They are brought together marvelously, arranged in chronological order from the 1880s to the 1980s, flowing in and out of time with the neighboring stories.

Berry's fiction focuses on the invented town of Port William, a small farming community in Kentucky. For those who have read his novels, the characters and the town are familiar; for those who haven't, Berry's world is so infused with natural grace that one automatically feels at home in Port William and among its inhabitants. "That Distant Land" gathers together assorted stories about Port William's characters, some that are familiar and told from a different perspective, and some that might be unknown, but no less familiar.

I especially enjoyed the stories that told of Ptolemy Proudfoot and his wife, Miss Minnie Quinch. "A Consent", the story of their odd courtship, is a story that leaves your soul beaming at the simplicity and overwhelming power of love. The Proudfoot-Miss Minnie stories add a dimension of humor to this collection that is absent in other stories. Berry does not rush any of these stories along; some are short, light-hearted anecdotes - others are long, meandering wanders through time and memory. Perhaps the two most poignant stories in the collection are "Fidelity" and the title piece. Centering around Burley Coulter and Mat Feltner respectively, both are about the end of life, of the memories and people who shape our lives and the memories we will leave behind.

While telling his stories, working his way through the history of Port William, Berry affirms time and again a world alive with possibilities, to be what it is and also what it once was. A farmer in the oldest tradition, he is in love with the land and saddened by the 'advances' technology and urban growth have created. "That Distant Land" brings this home as it covers nearly a century of change in the world, and the decay that inevitably hits smalltown America, whose inhabitants feel that perhaps they have nothing left to offer their children that would entice them to stay and carry on their way of life. Berry, time and again, offers this hope, perhaps as a way of challenge.

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