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The Rural Life    by Verlyn Klinkenborg order for
Rural Life
by Verlyn Klinkenborg
Order:  USA  Can
Back Bay, 2004 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

This is a collection of essays, many of which appeared in the New York Times as well as other prestigious publications. The essays encompass the months of the year, each one an in-depth study of the changes of the seasons, but on a very simplistic level. The Rural Life is a book to be savored - to absorb Verlyn Klinkenborg's choice of words; to roll his thoughts over your tongue to bring to life the images he conveys; to be with him as he strolls his acres in New England and in the West, and to see the world as he sees it.

It is a world reduced to the basics: the fox-deep snow; horses dropping sweetfeed from their mouths, staining the snow molasses; the signs of spring thrown away, like unheeded hints; the source of the late summer honey flow turning a nebulous silver, like wool caught on barbed wire. Klinkenborg's analogies are wonderful, not to be raced through. Take one month at a time and digest it, before going onto the next. Keep your copy by your bed and read a few lines or a whole chapter to bring peace to your mind while drifting off to sleep.

The Rural Life is a soft, gentle book that deals with the harsh realities of weather and the effect it has on the earth. The author sees beauty in even the worst weather conditions. He is a realist who lives an accepting life; accepting what is put before him and living with it; seeing the beauty in a grasshopper and the majesty of a harsh winter storm. And, fortunately for us, he shares his reflections. We are the richer for this.

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