Synopses & Reviews
A gorgeously observed chronicle about getting out of the city and living life on the land, in the tradition of Anne Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.
When acclaimed novelist Brad Kessler started to feel unsatisfied by his Manhattan lifestyle, he opted to tackle his issues of over-consumption and live a more eco-friendly life. He and his wife moved to a seventy-five acre goat farm in a small southern Vermont town, where they planned to make a living raising goats and making cheese. They never looked back. Now Kessler adds to his numerous accomplishments (winner of the 2007 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, 2007 Whiting Award for Writers of Exceptional Promise, and a 2008 Rome Prize) an array of cheeses that have already been highly praised by Artisanal, the renowned cheese restaurant in New York City.
In his transformation from staunch urbanite to countrified goat farmer, Kessler explores the rustic roots of so many aspects of Western culture, and how our diet, alphabet, reli- gions, poetry, and economy all grew out of a pastoral setting. With Goat Song, he demonstrates yet another dimension to his writing talent, showcasing his expertise as food writer, in a compelling, beautifully written account of living by nature’s rules.
"Novelist (Birds in Fall; Lick Creek) Kessler's account of tending a small herd of milking goats in Vermont captures both the lush, poetic paradise of rural life and the raw, unrelenting drama of dairying. Kessler, a Saab-driving ex-Manhattanite, purchases two Nubian goats, breeds them and helps his wife, Dona, a trained doula, attend to the birth of four goat kids the following spring. The amusing zoomorphic and anthropomorphic descriptions, where goats forage as if they were at a sample sale and milk-fed kids stagger 'like street junkies,' dissipate as Kessler endures a season of goat wrangling, haying and hunting coyotes. Kessler gives the legal aspects of unpasteurized cheese a cursory inspection; his devotion centers on a budding relationship with animals, the earth and goat cheese. He's a back-to-the-land naturalist, who supports his detailed personal observations with extensive research as he explores the cultural, historical and biological aspects of pastoralism. While the tome's lengthy poetic journal entries on animal husbandry and cheese making hardly qualify as a comprehensive manual, the observant, unsanctimonious read is bound to inspire hobby farmers and consummate cheese lovers. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A wonderous little miracle of a book." Tom Ashbrook, National Public Radio
"Goat Song offers a meditation on the pastoral life...that will make an urbanite regret having missed the experience." The Wall Street Journal
"The writing is so beautiful you want to reread sentences to savor it." San Francisco Chronicle
"A multi-layered, smart, erudite, and incredibly well written book."--Christian Science Monitor
In his transformation from staunch urbanite to countrified goat farmer, Kessler explores the rustic roots of many aspects of Western culture, and how diet, alphabet, religions, and economy all grew out of a pastoral setting.
is the story of a year in the life of a couple who abandoned their one-bedroom apartment in New York City to live on seventy-five acres in Vermont and raise Nubian goats. In poetic, reverent detail, Brad Kessler explores our ancient relationship to the land and our gradual alienation from the animals that feed us.
His fascinating account traces his journey of choosing the goats and learning how to breed, milk, and care for them. As Kessler begins to live the life of a herder, he encounters the pastoral roots of so many aspects of Western culture — how our diet, our alphabet, our religions, poetry, and economy all grew out of a pastoralist setting, a life lived among hoofed animals.
About the Author
Brad Kessler's novel Birds in Fall won the 2006 Dayton Literary Peace Prize and was named by the Los Angeles Times one of the top ten books of the year. He is the author of another novel, Lick Creek, and his non-fiction has appeared in numerous publications including The New Yorker, The Nation, Kenyon Review, and Bomb. Kessler is the recipient of the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Whiting Writer's Award. He lives with his wife, the photographer Dona Ann McAdams, in Vermont, where they raise a small herd of dairy goats and produce cheese.