Jayber Crow

Wendell Berry
Pages: 363
Suggested By: Andrew Peterson
Date Started: July 27, 2022
Date Finished: August 6, 2022
11h 46m 33s
Reason Book was Chosen:
I expect Wendell Berry to be sainted any day now the way people reverently talk about him. I've never read any Wendell Berry and so if he is about to be sainted (or knighted), I should read up on him.

My Thoughts

Every now and then, I read a book where the characters themselves make me want to lead a better life. It’s as if the characters are written in such a way as to work out faith in life. How then shall we live is answered by these fictional lives. But they are not wooden or unrealistic. The characters go through trials, heartache, and deep pain. But there is a practical faith that is worth emulating. Few authors are able to reach that point. Berry is one of them.

The main character, Jayber Crow, is a bald barber in a small Kentucky town. He has little to attract on the outside. And yet he’s enticing.

I loved this book. At the end, I wrote that this is the perfect novel. The ending was memorable and beautiful. I’ve thought about this novel a lot since reading it.

It also provided the antidote to a book I read earlier this year, Industrial Society and Its Future. In that book, Kaczynski provides a way forward after witnessing the destruction of land near his location. In the same way, Jayber Crow witnesses the destruction of a beloved nature area called the Nest Egg, and yet goes the opposite direction of Kaczynski. It was fascinating to compare the two very different books.

This was my first book by Wendell Berry. I liked that I recognized character names that are titles of his other books, meaning I’ll be able to read those and see a similar time & place through someone else’s eyes.

Berry reminded me a lot of George MacDonald, and in fact, my wife recently heard someone say that Wendell Berry is a modern day George MacDonald. I’m currently reading Sir Gibbie by MacDonald and there are quite a few connections between the two books.

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