Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

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Jayber Crow, born in Goforth, Kentucky, orphaned at age ten, began his search as a "pre-ministerial student" at Pigeonville College. There, freedom met with new burdens and a young man needed more than a mirror to find himself. But the beginning of that finding was a short conversation with "Old Grit," his profound professor of New Testament Greek. "You have been given questions to which you cannot be given answers. You will have to live them out—perhaps a little at a time."
"And how long is that going to take?"
"I don't know. As long as you live, perhaps."
"That could be a long time."
"I will tell you a further mystery," he said. "It may take longer."

Eventually, after the flood of 1937, Jayber becomes the barber of the small community of Port William, Kentucky. From behind that barber chair he lives out the questions that drove him from seminary and begins to accept the gifts of community that enclose his answers. The chair gives him a perfect perch from which to listen, to talk, and to see, as life spends itself all around. In this novel full of remarkable characters, he tells his story that becomes the story of his town and its transcendent membership.

About Wendell Berry

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Wendell Berry is the author of fifty books of poetry, fiction, and essays. He was recently awarded the Cleanth Brooks Medal for Lifetime Achievement by the Fellowship of Southern Writers and the Louis Bromfield Society Award. For over forty years he has lived and farmed with his wife, Tanya, in Kentucky.
Published August 30, 2001 by Counterpoint. 390 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Religion & Spirituality. Fiction

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Jayber's love for Maggie, rather than corroding his character because it can never be expressed, leads him to a serene faith, which meets its greatest test as Port William is overcome by the modern world (farms fail, families fray and disperse, and the ubiquitous developers move in) and Maggie be...

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Publishers Weekly

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The role of community in the shaping of character is a recurring theme in the work of poet, essayist and novelist Berry, as evidenced once more in this gratifying novel set in Berry's fictional Port William, Ky.

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Book Reporter

When the county inspector invades his barbershop and finds there is no running hot water (he heats it in a metal urn over a coal fire), Jayber elects to close his shop and finish out his days in a modest shack on the river.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Jayber Crow

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