Another wonderful book by the famous or infamous John Gould.Since Oct. 21, 1942, when he was introduced to readers as "a country correspondent whose writings naturally have a distinct flavor of the soil," John Gould's regular column in the Christian Science Monitor has been gaining the farmer/essayist from Friendship, Maine, a devoted worldwide reading audience.
Dispatches from Maine: 1942-1992, his twenty eighth book about his well-honed personal version of his beloved state, its people, its folklore, and above all its home cooking, brings together 75 of his favorite columns from half a century of salty reflections.
For longtime fans or for the reader about to become one, this book is an unexpectedly moving autobiography, for the young man building a family with his wife and watching his children grow and develop a love for natural beauty in the first essays gradually matures into the 85-year-old philosopher who has learned the most important things about life and humanity in his own backyard. Along the way there is a lifetime of misadventures with bulls, hornets, and ducks as well as heartfelt paeans to the virtues of chicken fat, strawberries, and hot maple syrup cooled on the snow.
Family stories that illuminate a simpler age, but also reveal the worst as well as the best character, richly sensual world pictures of holiday feasts or springtime rambles in the woods or record blizzards, puzzled musings about the stranger in the outside world-a Gould essay, like the best in the classic tradition, unfolds slowly but with great craft, homing suddenly to its message.
"Writing's got to come from something that's happened to you or somebody else," Gould said recently. "There's got to be a smack of realism and facutalism to back me up and make the writing plausible. There has to be enough there to make the reader relate to it."
A tale-spinner whose tallest tales are both slyly funny and unforgettably true, John Gould celebrates in Dispatches From Maine what is best in American life with his singular tease and twang.