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Hannah Coulter

A Novel

List Price: $14.95

September 13, 2005 | Paperback |  6 x 9, 208 Pages | ISBN 9781593760786
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“Beneath the story of ordinary lives lies the work of an extraordinarily wise novelist.” —Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“Ignorant boys, killing each other,” is just about all Nathan Coulter would tell his wife, friends, and family about the Battle of Okinawa in the spring of 1945. Life carried on for the community of Port William, Kentucky, as some boys returned from the war and the lives of others were mourned. In her seventies, Nathan’s wife, Hannah, has time now to tell of the years since the war. In Wendell Berry’s unforgettable prose, we learn of the Coulter’s children, of the Feltners and Branches, and how survivors “live right on.”

WENDELL BERRY is the author of over fifty books of fiction, poetry, and essays, including Citizenship Papers. He has farmed a hillside in his native Henry County, Kentucky, for over thirty years. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Aiken Taylor Award for poetry, and the John Hay Award of the Orion Society.


“[F]ew write American English more limpidly than Berry, and he has realized his characters as thoroughly as Faulkner did any of the people of Yoknapatawpha County. But as this telling of a farm woman’s life in her voice continues—and voice it seems more than writing, so spontaneously speechlike are its cadences and the simple accuracy of its diction—it feels ever more poetic…” —Booklist Starred Review

“Beneath the story of ordinary lives lies the work of an extraordinarily wise novelist: as Hannah relates her children’s fate to her own deeply rooted rural background, she weaves landscape and family and history together… Her compassion enlivens every page of this small, graceful novel.” —Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“Atmospheric and quietly moving: a talethat manages to avoid outright bathos as it makes its way along the narrow boundary between memoir and nostalgia.” —Kirkus

“Berry renders abstractions like community and home as breathing organisms. . . . Berry’s stories are meant to welcome, to be retold, repeated and handed down to cement the bonds between generations and among neighbors… It’s a rare novel that can make one yearn so comprehensively for self-improvement.” —San Francisco Chronicle

Hannah Coulter is set in the latter half of the past century, but like the best contemporary fiction, it is informed by our present moment.” —Seattle Times

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