Book Review of
Hannah Coulter is Wendell Berry’s seventh novel and his first to employ the voice of a woman character in its telling. Hannah, the now-elderly narrator, recounts the love she has for the land and for her community. She remembers each of her two husbands, and all places and community connections threatened by twentieth-century technologies. At risk is the whole culture of family farming, hope redeemed when her wayward and once lost grandson, Virgil, returns to his rural home place to work the farm.
Hannah Coutler by Wendell Berry is one of the best books I have read so far this year. It will definitely be one of my favorite fiction books for the year. I started reading one of Wendell Berry’s nonfiction books and had trouble getting into it. Multiple readers told me to try reading his fiction and suggested Hannah Coulter.
After reading only a few chapters, I realized why so many people love Wendell Berry. His writing and story telling is amazing. He makes you feel like you are part of the story.
When I was reading Hannah Coulter, I felt like I was reading about a real family not a fictitious one. I have heard this described as a fictional memoir, and that is exactly how I felt after reading it. There is not a lot of action or a big plot. This book is simply the story of Hannah, her family, and the ups and downs of farm life in rural Kentucky written in a beautiful nostalgic way.