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Four Seasons in Five Senses: Things Worth Savoring
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0393325369, Paperback)California peach farmer David Mas Masumoto's Four Seasons in Five Senses is about awareness--of the process by which peaches are grown and enjoyed; of the sensual "stories" by which farmers learn their work and place in it; and of farming itself, whose cycles of birth, growth, and decay make it a telling metaphor of life. In a series of short essays, such as "How to Eat Peach," "Got Umami," and "The Art of Grunting" (an amusing exploration of work sounds), Masumoto shows readers his inner-outer world. Masumoto's eye is, however, always fixed on the narratives we tell ourselves. "The best farmers of personalized products strive to create true stories and personal connections through our fruits," says Masumoto, "a journey through four seasons in five senses." But Masumoto also lives in the world of commercial imperatives. "We [farmers] work for pennies," he says, "and people of America spend a smaller percentage of their income on food than do people in any other country." A provider of a highly perishable "handmade" product that must nonetheless reach consumers in a state worthy of his commitment to it, Masumoto is frustrated by the plight of "slow food" in a fast-food world. "Farming must be circular in contrast to the straight lines of business," he says.
Despite repetitiveness, some overreaching prose ("I see with my senses, aware ... a tree with peach lights in it, a siren of harvest time," for example), and an inclination to self-regard (as opposed to self-attentiveness), readers will follow Masumoto's tale avidly, enjoying particularly his depictions of the peach growing process. For those of us lost to modern industrial life, the realization that there is a farmer behind every piece of fruit our supermarkets sell, and that his or her whole awareness can be in that fruit, is a revelation. That disclosure is at the center of Masumoto's enlightening tale. --Arthur Boehm
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:37 -0400)
David Mas Masumoto encourages people to stop rushing through life and learn to savor the little things, drawing on his own experiences as a farmer to describe the joys of nature and the re-discovery of the senses.
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