Book #27: Hannah Coulter

Wendell Berry is easily becoming one of my favorite authors and I’ve only read one novel last year and now Hannah Coulter; but at this point I would read anything he’s written in full faith that it will be excellent. Berry’s stories are more character-driven than plot-driven and this novel even more so, but still it draws the reader in to the life of Hannah as she tells her life’s story. She is now an old woman, twice widowed, who has seen the world change in immense ways. While she reflects on her life with the wisdom of age, she also is so real and human – still aware that she doesn’t fully grasp how the world and the people in it work. She expresses the joys and pains that made her life full, ponders the change of a place brought about by time, and how generations rise and fall. Berry’s novels are all beautifully written and his characters complex and well developed. This novel takes place in the community of Port William, Kentucky, where most of Berry’s novels exist, and his strong sense of place make you feel like it’s a real town. This is a novel to enjoy slowly, to let the beauty of the words wash over you and the humanity of the characters dig deep into you and grab hold.

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