Synopses & Reviews
For the past several years, on a farm north of San Francisco, the celebrated writer Alice Walker has diligently cared for a flock of chickens. Over time, her blossoming relationship with her girls” became a source of inspiration, strength, and spiritual discovery, and helped Walker connect more profoundly with her own past as a girl in rural Georgia. Walker has recorded this journey in The Chicken Chronicles,
an extraordinary document of personal discovery, political commitment, and the joys of relating to
Each of Walkers thirty-eight chronicles addresses her girls” directly, sometimes from the intimate proximity of her yard, other times at a great distance, from her journeys to Bali and Dharamsala as a witness and activist for peace and justice. By turns uplifting and heartbreaking, The Chicken Chronicles is a new treat for Walker fans, a powerful touchstone for anyone seeking a deeper connection with the natural world, and a celebration of chickens everywhere!
"Writers must imagine their audience. This seems a fundamental enough concept, particularly for a Pulitzer Prize winner like Walker (The Color Purple). The intended reader of these 37 chronicles, however, feels rather murky. At least that is, until it becomes clear that Walker is addressing her chickens. Beyond referring to herself in the third person as 'mommy'-that would be the chickens' mommy-Walker describes a trip to India, confesses her 'impatience' with and 'withdrawal' from the original hens after new chickens arrive, and writes a poem in honor of Michael Jackson for her chickens, all with the tone and depth with which we typically address our pets or infants, which is to say the insipid baby-talk that no other human should have to hear, nor read. The title promises something intriguing-Walker's memories perhaps. Instead, the banal day-to-day is made even more simplistic for the sake of the 'girls.' Most readers would have been interested in Walker's thoughts on Gandhi or the Dalai Lama, but unfortunately these passages, like the others, remain insufferable. This time Walker's talking to her chickens and her chickens alone.
Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
On a farm north of San Francisco, the celebrated writer Alice Walker diligently cares for a flock of chickens.The Chicken Chronicles
captures her blossoming relationship with her chickens over the months and years and is an extraordinary document of personal recovery, political commitment, and the joys of relating to animals.
Each of Walkers thirty-seven Chronicles addresses her “girls” directly, sometimes from the intimate proximity of her yard, other times at great distance, from her journeys to Bali, Dharamsala, and Gaza, as a witness and activist for peace and justice.
About the Author
That is when you realize how powerful Walker is, how she draws you through trauma into an Eternity, a chicken house on her peaceful bit of land in Northern California, next to her garden, where she sits on a green metal stool and watches her chickens. It's a book-long spell—hypnotic.”
—Los Angeles Times
With an eye for wonderment and plenty of surprisingly wry humor, author Alice Walker shakes up fans with a memoir that’s nothing like her novels. Instead, The Chicken Chronicles is a series of enchanted musings on Walker’s life and charitable works, the richly-imagined life of her pets, and a powerful sense of gratitude for friends, the Earth, and its gifts. I flew through this book, loving every page of it. For pet lovers, chicken people, or anyone who craves a perfectly charming memoir, here’s one to read. The Chicken Chronicles is worth bringing home to roost.”
—Terri Schlichenmeyer, Life After 50
Walker invites her readers into her personal spaces to share in the joy and wonder her chickens engender and to witness the trials collectively endured. One can readily conjure Walker as she comes inside from the chicken yard and writes down her thoughts and impressions.”
The Pulitzer Prizewinning author of imparts life lessons and sage wisdom through the care and feeding of a delightful flock of chickens.
Walker (Hard Times Require Furious Dancing: New Poems, 2010, etc.) realized that as a serious egg-lover, it would behoove her to get to know the chickens laying them.” She soon hatched an agreement with a family nearby to raise them together in the rudimentary Northern California wine country neighborhood where she’s lived for 30 years. As offbeat as it may seem, Walker developed a profound attachment and an intrinsic contentment by befriending her nine undeniably gorgeous” chickens. Often found crouched and crowing in her lap and balanced upon her shoulders, the author named each of them personally (Gertrude Stein, Babe, Rufus, Gladys, Glorious, etc.), contemplated their behaviors and researched their varietal breeds. The memoir is, in part, an assemblage of chronological entries from the author’s blog, and spans from present-day farming time to her youth in rural Georgia, where she acquired an appreciation for animals and music. The second half of the book includes poems and letters she’s written to the chickens while traveling. At their strongest, these short essays are illuminating and wonderfully wacky ruminations from the earth-conscious mind of a run-of-the-mill mostly vegetarian person.” Walker’s sage, compassionate memoir is meant to be savored and contemplated; fans will appreciate the devoted nurturing of her feathered backyard brood as the embodiment of a lifetime spent cultivating peace, harmony and the wonder and spontaneity of Nature.”
Life-affirmative and eccentrically inspirational.