The Wild Birds
Six Stories of the Port William Membership
“Berry is a superb writer. His sense of what makes characters tick is extraordinary . . . Short stories don't get any better than these.” —People
As part of Counterpoint's celebration of beloved American author Wendell Berry comes this reissue of his 1986 classic, The Wild Birds: Six Stories of the Port William Membership. Those stories include “Thicker Than Liquor”, “Where Did They Go?”, “It Wasn't Me”, “The Boundary”, “That Distant Land”, and the titular “The Wild Birds.”
Spanning more than three decades, from 1930 to 1967, these wonderful stories follow Wheeler Catlett, and reintroduce readers to the beloved people who live in Berry's fictional town of Port William, Kentucky.
Praise for The Wild Birds
Praise for The Wild Birds “Berry is a poet of landscapes and legacies: The Wild Birds is a heartfelt exploration of the complex bonds between generations and the ways in which a neighborhood is shaped by its common ties to the land and undone when those connections weaken.” —San Francisco Chronicle “Berry is a superb writer. His sense of what makes characters tick is extraordinary. His farmers love their land in a powerful bond that moves them forward, generation after generation, with a sense of fulfillments that seems unique in this day of disaffected heroes and writers who turn to black humor when they must deal with eternal verities . . . Short stories don't get any better than these.” —People “The Wild Birds is one of those books that remind one of the real purpose and possibilities of the literary art. The good and simple truth to which each of Berry's stories testifies is that its author observes people carefully, understands them precisely, and cares about them deeply; bombast, pretension, and narcissism are alien to him . . . One has the refreshing impression that Berry doesn't give a damn what's in and what's out; he writes what he wants to write.” —The New Criterion “Readers would have to look long and hard to find a more polished and engaging collection of stories. Wendell Berry once again has proven himself an original American prose voice.” —San Diego Magazine “In these stories, Berry traces the history of a loosely affiliated, unofficial, fictional group of dead and living men and women, 'the membership of the fields' in Port William, a community in Kentucky's tobacco country . . . Told with the same intelligence, craft, and reverence that characterize Berry's novels, essays on agriculture, and poems, these stories have at their core the necessity of human friendship, 'the good that has been possible in the world . . . the good that is desirable in it.' Highly recommended.” —Library Journal “This collection of six interrelated stories, set in the 1930s through the '70s, portrays life in backcountry Kentucky and its county seat, 'a dying town in the midst of a wasting country.' Wheeler Catlett, the central, unifying figure, is a lawyer whose roots and sensibilities exfoliate from the soil of the surrounding farmland. He is its voice and consciousness, its collective memory; his 'clients,' who are also his friends, neighbors and kinfolk, provide his cast of characters.” —Publishers Weekly Praise for Fidelity “Berry richly evokes Port William's farmlands and hamlets, and his characters are fiercely individual, yet mutually protective in everything they do. . . . His sentences are exquisitely constructed, suggesting the cyclic rhythms of his agrarian world.” —New York Times Book Review “Each of these elegant stories spans the twentieth century and reveals the profound interconnectedness of the farmers and their families to one another, to their past and to the landscape they inhabit.” —The San Francisco Chronicle “Visionary . . . rooted in a deep concern for nature and the land, . . . [these stories are] tough, relentless and clear. In a roundabout way they are confrontational because they ask basic questions about men and women, violence, work and loyalty.” —Hans Ostrom, The Morning News Tribune “The rarest (and highest) of literary classes consists of that small group of authors who are absolutely inimitable. . . . One of the half–dozen living American authors who belong in this class is Wendell Berry. . . . [this] whole book is vintage Berry.” —Los Angeles Times “Birth, life, death and the primary institutions of family an