Synopses & Reviews
A beautifully unconventional love story.
It's the summer of 2008, and thirty-five-year-old Ursula Tunder, reeling from the breakup of a bad marriage, has abandoned her career as a botanist and moved home to the family farm to start a wholesale garden-plant greenhouse, and, perhaps more importantly, to care for her ailing father, Joe. Her younger brother, Bodie, now that a shoulder injury has ended his NFL career, comes home as well, to try his hand at organic farming. Their land at the edge of a prosperous college town is coveted by developers. Ursula wants to sell the farm to Camas Valley State University, which has promised to create a research facility on the land, but Bodie and his idealistic wife, Fleece, are committed to farming.
Enter Nu, Ursula and Bodie's Vietnamese-American cousin by adoption, and an up-and-coming visual artist. When Nu gets arrested after a fight with a pair of dirt bikers, Joe persuades him to take refuge at the Tunder farm. Nu gets pressed into service helping Bodie with farm chores and taking care of Joe, so Ursula seizes the opportunity to get away from the farm, accepting a temporary job surveying native plants in the Cascades. But when Joe's health plummets and Bodie's finances crash, Ursula abandons her summer job to return home once again.
Facing bankruptcy, Ursula, Bodie, and Nu enlist a ragtag troupe of land-defenders in a festival of resistance in a last-ditch effort to save a way of life that may disappear forever.
"I haven't read a novel in a long time that felt this hopeful, this authentic in feeling, in landscape, in the complexities of the lives of its people — ordinary people who are not only farmers and gardeners but artists and biologists and immigrants, wives and husbands, sisters and brothers. It's a marvelous book, written with immense compassion and honesty, insight and detail. I loved it."
Molly Gloss, author of The Jump-Off Creek and The Hearts of Horses
"You can tell that Charles Goodrich is both a gifted writer and an attentive gardener, giving us a heartening story that is grounded in the way that land and people can heal each other. He has cultivated characters so memorable that I missed them as soon as I read the last page."
Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of the New York Times bestseller Braiding Sweet Grass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants
"Goodrich masterfully weaves an intricate and deeply satisfying story. It's a beautiful book in its rich language and profoundly honest voice — funny and smart in its observations. Weave Me a Crooked Basket is a thrilling read and a much-needed antidote to our time, reminding us we can fully embrace the power of the human spirit."
Keith Scribner, author of Old Newgate Road, winner of the 2020 Connecticut Book Award
"Weave Me a Crooked Basket testifies to a potent vision — small farmers, artists, tattooed hair-stylists, footballers, yoga teachers, schoolkids, and cranky octogenarians rising in community when the engines of Corporate Greed come rumbling their way."
John Daniel, author of Gifted and Lighted Distances
"Charles Goodrich's writing shines with a deep knowledge of the land and climate of Western Oregon. His story demonstrates an overall ethic of care for this land. Read Weave Me a Crooked Basket — for the characters you will know and love, and for the way Goodrich brings the place alive."
Lawrence Coates, professor of English and creative writing, Bowling Green State University, author of The Goodbye House: A Novel
"Weave Me a Crooked Basket is the good news we've been waiting for: community matters, love heals, care and attention are the greatest of gifts, art is wonderfully re-arranging, the rich soil, well-tended, holds us all, and the work, despite our griefs, goes on. Charles Goodrich has written an exceptionally beautiful, life-giving novel."
Joe Wilkins, author of Fall Back Down When I Die and The Mountain and the Fathers
About the Author
Charles Goodrich is the author of The Practice of Home and four widely read books of poetry: Watering the Rhubarb, A Scripture of Crows, Going to Seed: Dispatches from the Garden, and Insects of South Corvallis. He is also coeditor of two anthologies: F orest Under Story: Creative Inquiry in an Old-Growth Forest and In the Blast Zone: Catastrophe and Renewal on Mount St. Helens. His poems and essays have appeared in Orion, High Country News, The Sun, The Ecopoetry Anthology, Poetry of Presence and many other journals and anthologies. Garrison Keillor has featured Goodrich's poetry more than a dozen times on The Writers' Almanac.