Carole's Reviews > Hannah Coulter

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry
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Jan 06, 2010

really liked it
Read in January, 2010

This author belies the claim that men and women are too different to really understand each other. Writing as a woman, in first person, Berry wonderfully expresses a feminine response to war, loss, and, most of all, love. I'm anxious to read his other writings, including those from a male perspective.

Some favorite quotes:

"As I have told it over, the past visible again in the present, the dead living still in their absence, this dream of time seems to come to rest in eternity. My mind, I think, has started to become, it is close to being, the room of love where the absent are present, the dead are alive, time is eternal, and all the creatures prosperous. The room of love is the love that holds us all, and it is not ours. It goes back before we were born. It goes all the way back. It is Heaven's. Or it is Heaven, and we are in it only by willingness. By whose love...do we love this world and ourselves and one another? Do you think we invented it ourselves? I ask with confidence, for I know you know we didn't."

"Compared to nearly everybody else, the Branches have led a sort of futureless life. They have planned and provided as much as they needed to, but they take little thought for the morrow. They aren't going any place, they aren't getting ready to become anything but what they are, and so their lives are not fretful and hankering. And they are all still here, still farming. They are here, and if the world lasts they are going to be here for quite a while. If I had "venture capital" to invest, I think I would invest it in the Branches."

"And so Nathan required me to think a thought that has stayed with me a long time and has traveled a long way. It passed through everything I know and changed it all. The chance you had is the life you've got. You can make complaints about what people, including you, make of their lives after they have got them, and about what people make of other people's lives...but you mustn't wish for another life. You mustn't want to be somebody else. What you must do is this: "Rejoice everymore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks." I am not all the way capable of so much, but those are the right instructions."
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