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Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

Jayber Crow (original 2000; edition 2001)

by Wendell Berry

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Title:Jayber Crow
Authors:Wendell Berry
Info:Counterpoint (2001), Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library

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Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry (2000)



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I have read Wendell Berry non-fiction and found him thoughtful and challenging. I have imbibed his poetry and loved his images. I did read some short stories several years ago and loved them, but this book is the one that brought me into the world of the Port William membership. This book makes me want to read more Wendell Berry. ( )
  Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
Before reading this book, I knew vaguely of Wendell Berry as an environmentalist and was not familiar with his writing. [Jayber Crow] is one of several novels set in the fictional town of Port William, Kentucky. Jayber, the town barber, tells his life story from birth in 1914 to old age. Themes of love, friendship, and community are intermingled with warnings about the impact of the automobile, the dangers of large-scale farming, and the futility of war. The prose is quiet and reflective; Berry's societal critique almost sneaks up on you as you find yourself nodding along with him. I'll be reading more of his Port William novels.


I marked a couple of passages that struck me -- such beautiful writing:

She had come into her beauty. This was not the beauty of her youth and freshness, of which she had a plenty. The beauty I am speaking of now was that of a woman who has come into knowledge and into strength and who, knowing her hardships, trusts her strength and goes about her work even with a kind of happiness, serene somehow, and secure. It was the beauty she would always have.


My vision of the gathered church that had come to me after I became the janitor had been replaced by a vision of the gathered community. What I saw now was the community imperfect and irresolute but held together by the frayed and always fraying, incomplete and yet ever-holding bonds of the various sorts of affection. ... I saw them all as somehow perfected, beyond time, by one another's love, compassion, and forgiveness, as it is said we may be perfected by grace. ( )
  lauralkeet | Dec 24, 2016 |
Reading Wendell Berry's Jayber Crow was like a lazy summer afternoon aboard a log raft, floating down a serene river. It was as much a bleeding of tension as it was an escape from reality. It made me long for the life of Port William, with all its ups and downs. A truly great read. ( )
  rencheple | Aug 26, 2016 |
I discovered this author from a friend's suggestion.Mr. Berry's books are stories of people that have endured life and all it gives and takes from you.The stories take place in a simpler time. Each book is about a resident in the town. You are drawn into the story and its characters. When the book ends, it is as if the character left a piece of themselves with you and you left a piece of yourself in Port William. I can highly recommend Jayber Crow.
Mr.Berry's books are a delight to read and hunker down with! ( )
  LauGal | Aug 16, 2016 |
A reading experience, for me, in which chapters and pages glide by, trusting the storyteller completely. An autobiography of Jayber. From his orphaned upbringing to boardinghouse to flirting with college, he settles fortuitously in Port William as town barber. This is more than a sequential telling of one's life though. Jayber's keen observation (and Berry's too, no doubt) of life, human nature, the natural world and his search for higher meaning to it all. And did I mention love and forgiveness? So many topics, such as what really is a well-lived life? What are the prices of so-called progress? You can get pleasantly lost in this gentle yet intellectually pinging novel. And I suggest you do. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Mar 24, 2016 |
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Magnanimous Despair alone

Could show me so divine a thing...
Virginia Berry


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I never put up a barber pole or a sign or even gave my shop a name.
Persons attempting to find a "text" in this book will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a "subtext" in it will be banished; persons attempting to explain, interpret, explicate, analyze, deconstruct, or otherwise "understand" it will be exiled to a desert island in the company only of other explainers.

I had a conscientious objection to making an exception of myself. p. 143
On pretty weekends in the summer...the river is disquieted from morning to night by people resting from their work. This resting involves traveling at great speed...These people are in an emergency to relax. (p. 331)
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