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A World Lost

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  452 ratings  ·  64 reviews
"Brilliantly detailed characters and subtle social observations distinguish Berry's unassuming but powerful fifth novel....This is simple, soul-satisfying storytelling". Publishers Weekly

"An elegiac celebration of the end of innocence....A sharp portrait of a small farming town nursing its secrets over several decades". Kirkus Reviews

Andy Catlett is nine years old when his

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Hardcover, 151 pages
Published October 1st 1996 by Counterpoint (first published 1996)
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(showing 1-30 of 703)
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Les
Jul 01, 2012 Les rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Les by: Wendell Berry's Books
Yet another brilliant Wendell Berry novel. I will be reading many more.

I have said this before, but Berry does not employ literary pyrotechnics, He does not need them. His style is graceful, lovely, filled with hope and yet infused with a melancholy that is realistic and sometimes even heartbreaking. His characters are among the richest I have ever read. They are people you wish you knew, but knowing that they exist in his pages is enough to comfort you that they could truly exist in this world.
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Gloria
Oh, Mr. Wendell Berry. How is it you possess the ability to transport a reader to a different time and place through every sense imaginable? The humid warmth of a southern day, the coolness of pond water on a boy's skin as he takes a forbidden swim, the buzz and hum of the summer's insects.
If this weren't enough, you make us inhabit his every thought.

This story made me wish I'd been born a boy.
Before you jump to strange conclusions, let me explain. Girls often drape themselves in their mother's
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Callie
I do love Wendell Berry. Simple, eloquent, quiet, measured, wise. He's very good at understanding human nature and his mind is original. There is no one else like him.

"I learned that all human stories in this world contain many lost or unwritten or unreadable or unwritable pages and that the truth about us, though it must exist though it must lie all around us everyday, is mostly hidden from us, like birds' nests in the woods."

"In that time of grief and discouragement and defeat--it comes clear
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Emily
I gave this book a 3 because even though it's a short book, I felt like it could have ended sooner. I got what I wanted out of it in the first half. That said, I enjoyed this book for what it was. There were simple phrases and witty remarks that made me laugh out loud, you don't hear this kind of stuff in this day and age. For example: Spoiler: There's a part where his Grandma puts a pillow of feathers over the phone to insulate it during the storms from lightning (takes place in 1940's in the b ...more
Northpapers
For some reason, memory and identity have been ideas that appeared in many of my readings in this season of my life. A child's perception can't be reclaimed. It can only be recalled and explored, and the truth of adulthood is that we must challenge those concepts we held most dear as children.

When young Andy Catlett loses his uncle to gun violence, a world he inhabited was lost to him. The story of his lifelong recalling and reimagining of that world is the subject of this rich novella.

A few fri
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Bryant
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joy
Oh, why did I not read every Wendell Berry book I could when I was first
introduced to his writings a few years ago? This would have been a good beginning book to the continuing characters in Port William, a small town and farm community in Kentucky. This book is set in the summer of 1944 and narrated by Andy Cartlett, nine at the time. Andy gains insight into the lives of his parents, grandparents, neighbors, and friends. (grandfather) "He was a comforting man to be with. Perhaps that was enough
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Carl Brush
Wendell breaks a lot of MFA rules, which is only one of the reasons I love him and his writing. A World Lost is set, as usual for Berry, in the northeastern Kentucky area of Port William (Now Carrollton) which has become Berry country among those who know and admire this unique author’s work. A World Lost has the flavor of a memoir because the voice of Andy Catlett is so strong, authentic, redolent with experience. There I go, breaking one of the MFA rules right along with Wendell--stringing th ...more
Katie Powell
I’m hooked up to Wifi, typing this review at our local Wegman’s supermarket/eatery/lounge… my husband Jeremy is sitting beside me reading A World Lost and he’s laughing.

“Why are you laughing?” I keep asking him. Wendell Berry’s A World Lost begins with a death, a murder.

But Jeremy is right, Berry’s 104 page novella about the death of Andrew Catlett—beloved uncle, brother, husband, drifter, drinker, dancer, and farmer—in Port William, Kentucky, 1944 is as funny as it is sad and mournful.

A World L
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Beth
I love Wendell Berry...again. This is a short novel about Andy Catlett and his Uncle Andrew, a rather profligate drunkard who is murdered in the opening pages of the book. Andy remembers and tries to understand his uncle and figure out why he was really murdered and in the process learns about himself, his family, especially his father, his love for the land, acceptance, loyalty, and more. This is my favorite quote from the book:

"Finally you must believe as your heart instructs. If you are a gos
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Sandy
i think this is the most beautiful book i have ever read. quiet, gentle, humble, periodically painfully sad. It is exquisite, intimate and gracious. A vivid movie of a way of life long gone, 'a world lost'. It is a heritage so many of us have within our families, within our bones, yet is unrecognized by most people born after the 60's.. maybe even those born after the 50's. And we as Americans have missed something vital and beautiful about our lost history if we have not read this book. I know ...more
David
When the world seems to spinning hopelessly out of control, either by my own doing or by the doings of everyone else, I know it's time to read a Wendell Berry book. Whether it's a collection of his poems, a collection of his essays prophetically laying out the problems of our modern and civilized times, or, in this case, a Port William novel, he writes in a way that soothes my soul.

The Port William novels are a collection of stories from a small farming town in Kentucky. The stories cross the fi
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Kirsten Eisele
I love Wendell Berry's nonfiction -- all his collections of essays are brilliant and inspiring -- and I love his poetry. But I think I have to face cold, hard facts: I do not like his fiction. It makes me sad! Especially since I am currently pregnant with a son who will be christened Wendell, in honor of how much I love Berry, whose non-fiction has inspired me to live more simply and strive for a close relationship with my land and livestock.

This is my third Berry fiction book and none of the th
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Sarah
Oh, oh, oh, I love Wendell Berry.

This is a short book about a little boy and the violent death of his uncle, but it is a profound study of human hearts, human loves, and all the little choices we make that so form the stories of everyone around us.

Also, such a sense of place, as always, pervades W.B.'s stories.
Conrad
Wendell Berry is a masterful storyteller. His stories ring with authenticity, his characters are full of all the nuances of real people and his intimate knowledge of the land brings Port William to life. One might be led to believe that he is writing autobiographically. In 'A World Lost' he delves into the effects of the murder of Andy Catlett's uncle and namesake on the rest of the family. There's nothing sensational about it - just a deep personal tragedy for one family that reverberates down ...more
Jeffrey Bumiller
This is a gorgeous book. Wendell Berry's writing is so natural and true, filled with beauty and sadness so entwined as to be inseparable. This the story of a boy who grows up spending a large part of his life contemplating the death of a close relative. It immediately reminded me of Peter Matthiessen's epic novel Shadow Country. Anyone that knows me, understands that that is an enormous compliment. My only complaint about this book is that it is too short. I wanted to stay with these characters ...more
Logan
As the title suggests, A World Lost is a story of life come and gone, told with the reminiscent, soothing voice of a man reflecting on his childhood in the farmlands of Kentucky. The lovely style, though, is also what prevented me from connecting deeply with the book. It's as if a soft, forlorn vignette is dropped over the entire scene adding warmth and welcoming, but, I think, at the cost of sharpness and any sense of dramatic immediacy. Even the tragic and mysterious death of Uncle Andrew feel ...more
Jessica
A beautiful tale of Andy Catlett "jr's" life with and without his Uncle Andy Catlett. Berry ends this novel with thought-provoking musings on the nature of life, light and love.

"A story, I see, is not a life. A story must follow a line; the telling must begin and end. A life, on the contrary, would be impossible to fix in time, for it does not begin within itself, and it does not end...the dead remain in thought as much alive as they ever were, and yet increased in stature and grown remarkably n
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Ryan Adair
This is my first Wendell Berry book. The pace of the novel was slow, but that allowed me to connect with the characters and the way the protagonist told the story after reflecting on the murder of his uncle four decades earlier. Berry's style and insights are wonderful. I can't wait to read more of his work.
Sara
I read this book at the wrong time. I think it could probably be very poignant but due to life-circumstances I couldn't really bring myself to fully engage in this book. I wish I could have done it the justice it deserved.
Michelle
"Sometimes in the darkness of my own shadow I know that I could not see at all were it not for this old injury of love and grief, this little flickering lamp that I have watched beside for all these years."
James
A gorgeous little book that sometimes reads like a series of character and location sketches than a "story," but it's beautifully done, and the characters, especially Uncle Andrew, really come alive over the course of this 150-page remembrance.
Kim
A young boy comes to terms with the murder of his uncle. This is such a good and sad book. It sort of slowly examines all of the losses that are suffered in a small community when someone leaves. It is full of subtle changes and daily grief. It is just a really excellent story of the totality of loss. Wendell Berry.

A note about Wendell Berry. His books are very much character oriented. It is sort of rare that things happen in his books. He deals more with description and condition and the inter
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Frodo
The first book by Berry that I've read. Although I didn't feel especially drown to this story I did enjoy Berry's writing and I plan to read another.
Peggy
Dec 01, 2008 Peggy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone.
I enjoy reading books by Wendell Berry, a Kentucky author. This was an excellent book, more psychological in nature that his usual books. Andy Catlett, the narrator, who is named after his uncle Andrew, who was murdered when Andy was 10 years old. The book explores Andy's feelings after the event and also his attempt to find out the real story behind his uncle's death and the trial afterward. What he thinks is the true story of the event may not be true. It also explores how Uncles Andrew's deat ...more
Tina
I've been wanting to read a Wendell Berry book (okay, Englewood Review of Books, I get it, you think he's great!) A friend loaned me this book and it was what I expected Berry to be -- tied to the land, good old-fashioned values, great prose. There weren't any quotes I underlined or wrote down, but there's just a sense of looking at the world that I think will stay with me for some time. A good way to start 2014!
Patrick Walsh
This book claims to be a novel but it has little in the way of a narrative arc. It is the telling of the story of a favorite Uncle's murder by a boy who is just ten years old at the time. The story he tells is more about how the murder affects himself and the other members of the family and community than it is about the crime. Although he can tell a good story, and there are many of them in this short book, Wendell Berry's gift on display here is in enabling the readers to get to know the chara ...more
Go2therock
This was a wonderful book to read over a weekend. I enjoyed it from the start, and it honestly only got better the further in I went - to the very last word.

I returned it to the library before taking time to jot down the quote, but there's a part where the main character describes his father's dream - of a world intact, his family content, all well and good and at peace. It is a dream bound to incur pain and disappointment, yet one that he held to his dying day and passed on to his sons. This is
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dthaase
A fantastic novel and the second novel (chronologically) in Berry's Port William Fellowship stories. If you aren't going to read this novel I highly recommend at least finding it in the library and reading the last three paragraphs of the book as they are gems. Berry explores, in retrospect, the thoughts and calamity of nine-year-old Andy Catlett during the summer of 1944 - it is a novel centered in recollection and what it entails for us to remember and discover who we are and where we have com ...more
Bob Minnick
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Wendell Berry is a conservationist, farmer, essayist, novelist, professor of English and poet. He was born August 5, 1934 in Henry County, Kentucky where he now lives on a farm. The New York Times has called Berry the "prophet of rural America."
More about Wendell Berry...
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“I imagine the dead waking, dazed, into a shadowless light in which they know themselves altogether for the first time. It is a light that is merciless until they can accept its mercy; by it they are at once condemned and redeemed. It is Hell until it is Heaven. Seeing themselves in that light, if they are willing, they see how far they have failed the only justice of loving one another; it punishes them by their own judgment. And yet, in suffering that light's awful clarity, in seeing themselves in it, they see its forgiveness and its beauty, and are consoled. In it they are loved completely, even as they have been, and so are changed into what they could not have been but what, if they could have imagined it, they would have wished to be.” 18 likes
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