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November's Book
Nathan Coulter
by Wendell Berry

From the 2002 combined hardback edition titled Three Short Novels (Counterpoint):

“... to him that is joined to all the living there is hope ...” Ecclesiastes 9:4

In Three Short Novels—Nathan Coulter, Remembering, and A World Lost—we are given a chronicle of one community’s response to the sense of loss and fractured hope brought on by the Second World War.

  • Young Nathan, in Nathan Coulter, struggles to grow up and understand the value of land and family. With the death of his grandfather, Nathan sees that “his life couldn’t be divided from the days he’d spent at work in his fields.”
  • In Remembering, it is 1976 and Andy Catlett is alone in San Francisco, walking the streets at dawn. In the eight months since losing his right hand to a corn-picking machine, he has also lost himself and his sense of place. Two thousand miles from home, he begins to remember—people, places, the comfort of knowing land intimately.
  • A World Lost opens in the summer of 1944 when the nine-year-old Andy is engrossed in the cool water of Chatham Spring and fields full of tumblebugs and meadowlarks. But calamity strikes Andy’s world on a hot July afternoon when his Uncle Andrew is murdered.

Wendell Berry has said of Nathan Coulter, “When I finished work on this book at the end of the 1950s, I thought merely that I had made my start as a writer. I did not know that I had begun an interest in these characters that would still be productive over thirty years later.” Throughout the Port William series is Wendell Berry’s profound and inspiring vision of a compassionate and unsentimental duty to the land and to our communities.

Furthering his series on the Port William Membership, Three Short Novels brings together some of Wendell Berry’s best-loved short fiction—Nathan Coulter, Remembering, and A World Lost.

Praise for Wendell Berry:

“The Coulter family, like the rest of the people who dwell in this tiny farming community ... are caught on the wheel of nature, which is at once blindingly beautiful and unwittingly cruel.... The narrative is stunning, the natural scene is beautifully evoked.”
—Los Angeles Times

“In Remembering, Wendell Berry has constructed an almost perfect fiction, a sublime meditation on how irrevocable loss is redeemed through a renewed sense of kinship with the land and the past ... A beautiful and ennobling book.”
—The Washington Post

“[In A World Lost,] Mr. Berry writes elegantly, effortlessly balancing tragedy and a quiet, sly humor.”
—The Atlantic Monthly

“Berry’s prose, so carefully tuned you never know it is there, carries us into the very heart of Nathan Coulter and into the land itself.”
—San Jose Mercury News

An essayist, novelist, and poet, Wendell Berry is the author of more than thirty books. He lives and farms in his native Kentucky with his wife, Tanya Berry, and their children and grandchildren.

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