Synopses & Reviews
A year-long meditation on the deep joys of country life.
In the pages of The New Yorker, Harper's, the New York Times, and his acclaimed books Making Hay and The Last Fine Time, Verlyn Klinkenborg has mastered a voice of singular lyricism and precision. His subject is the American landscape: not the landscape admired from a scenic overlook, but one taken in from a rusty chair propped against the worn siding of a screened-in porch, or from the window of a pickup driving down an empty highway into the teeth of an approaching storm. He has a keen appreciation of the peculiarly American tableaua Memorial Day parade, or a boy riding a bike down the middle of a dusty street. Whether reporting from a small farm in upstate New York, a high pasture deep within the Rocky Mountains, or the bricked edge of a city shuddering in the wake of a "sudden Tuesday," Klinkenborg follows the momentum of the seasons in a language as simple, unsentimental, and exacting as life itself.
In the tradition of E. B. White and Henry David Thoreau, Verlyn Klinkenborg gives us in The Rural Life a fresh view of our greatest subject, the ordinary beauty of our daily lives.
"The Rural Life is not only a rich and evocative pastoral pilgrimage, it is a national treasure, for it reminds us of the essential place of nature in our increasingly urban lives. Verlyn Klinkenborg is our modern Thoreau."
"Verlyn Klinkenborg has a singular affinity for the natural world and because he is such an accomplished writer... he is able to convey its more delicate rhythms and patterns and mysteries to the rest of us."
"At once lyrical and down to earth, The Rural Life brilliantly takes the reader to the very heart of living in the country, and to the peace and constant surprises it offers."
Michael Korda, author of Country Matters: The Pleasures and Tribulations of Moving From a Big City to an Old Country Farmhouse
"As one who readilyand greedilydevours Verlyn Klinkenborg's columns in The New York Times, his new book, The Rural Life, is a joy. There is no journalist who surpasses his liquid prose, which he offers with such ease and fluency. He ought to be put under glass to preserve for the ages."
Jack Valenti, Chairman and CEO, Motion Picture Association
"Verlyn Klinkenborg has a poetic vision of farm chores and a gardeners obsession with the weather. He now takes his place among the best American writers about the natural worldup there with Thomas Jefferson, Katherine White, and even Wendell Berry."
Gregory Long, President of The New York Botanical Garden
"It's tempting to compare rural writer Verlyn Klinkenborg to pillars of American literature such as Robert Frost and Henry Thoreau. But Klinkenborg uses language with such mastery and has such a unique style that these comparisons may not do him full justice."
Lynn Hamilton, Bookpage
"Nothing in the prose is accidental, and the deliberate, finely hewn sentences convey, above all else, the seriousness with which Klinkenborg takes the task of watching the world around him. A heady meditation on our relationship to nature, echoing the works of the transcendentalists Thoreau and Emerson, the writing is much closer to poetry than essay."
"Captivating, subtle, and splendid...Nonfiction storytelling at its highest: unflaggingly lovely, with scope, profundity, and power achieved through a mastering of the delicate."
"Klinkenborg's writing serves a sheltering purpose: it's like briefly stepping out of a Great Plains gale and into the wind shadow of a butte. Yet ''escape'' seems the wrong word to describe what his work offers: it reveals to us another kind of worldliness that, in its own way, is inescapably eventful...." Rob Nixon, New York Times Review
This is a collection of Klinkenborg's writings on the natural world and the changing seasons which appear frequently in a column entitled "The Rural Life" on the editorial page of the "New York Times."