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Andy Catlett: Early Travels: A Novel (Port William)

By Wendell Berry (Author) & Paul Michael (Read by)
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Item description for Andy Catlett: Early Travels: A Novel (Port William) by Wendell Berry & Paul Michael...

Andy Catlett is the latest installment in Wendell Berry's Port William series, a distinct set of stories that Berry has been telling now for 50 years. Set during the Christmas of 1943, nine-year-old Andy Catlett sets off to visit his grandparents in Port William by bus, by himself for the first time. For Andy this is a rite of passage, his first step into manhood. His experiences on this solitary voyage become pivotal points in the entire Port William epic. The old ways are in retreat, modern life is crowding everything in its path, and as Andy looks back many years later, he hears the stories again of his neighbors and friends. A beautiful short novel, Andy Catlett is a perfect introduction to the whole world of Port William, and will be a rich new installment for those already familiar with this unfolding story.

Publishers Description
Berry opens this latest installment of the Port William series with young Andy Catlett preparing to visit a place he'd been to many times before, though this would be an adventure he will take very seriously. Nine years old, Andy embarks on the trip by bus, alone for the first time. He decides it will be a rite of passage and his first step into manhood. Sometimes a handful at home, Andy was a good boy when visiting his Grandparents' houses, and he looked forward to the little spoiling certain to come his way. A beautiful short novel, this book is a perfect introduction into the whole world of Port William and will be as well a new chapter for those already familiar with this rich unfolding story.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: christianaudio Fiction
Running Time: 253.00 minutes
Pages   1
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 6.14" Width: 5.25" Height: 0.76"
Weight:   0.22 lbs.
Binding  CD
Release Date   Mar 1, 2008
Publisher   Hovel Audio
Edition  Unabridged  
Series  Port William  
ISBN  1596445319  
ISBN13  9781596445314  

Availability  0 units.

More About Wendell Berry & Paul Michael

Wendell Berry WENDELL BERRY was born in Henry County, Kentucky, in 1934. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Kentucky in 1956 and continued on to complete a master’s degree in 1957. In 1958, he received a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University.

Berry has taught at Stanford University, Georgetown College, New York University, the University of Cincinnati, and Bucknell University. He taught at his alma mater, the University of Kentucky from 1964-77, and again from 1987-93.

The author of more than 40 works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, Wendell Berry has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (1962), the Vachel Lindsay Prize from Poetry (1962), a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship (1965), a National Institute of Arts and Letters award for writing (1971), the Emily Clark Balch Prize from The Virginia Quarterly Review (1974), the American Academy of Arts and Letters Jean Stein Award (1987), a Lannan Foundation Award for Non-Fiction (1989), Membership in the Fellowship of Southern Writers (1991), the Ingersoll Foundation's T. S. Eliot Award (1994), the John Hay Award (1997), the Lyndhurst Prize (1997), and the Aitken-Taylor Award for Poetry from The Sewanee Review (1998). His books include the novel Hannah Coulter (2004), the essay collections Citizenship Papers (2005) and The Way of Ignorance (2006), and Given: Poems (2005), all available from Counterpoint. Berry's latest works include The Mad Farmer Poems (2008) and Whitefoot (2009), which features illustrations by Davis Te Selle.

He lives and works with his wife, Tanya Berry, on their farm in Port Royal, Kentucky.

Wendell Berry currently resides in the state of Kentucky. Wendell Berry was born in 1934.

Wendell Berry has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Christian Practice of Everyday Life

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Product Categories

1Books > Audio CDs > Literature & Fiction > Classics
2Books > Audio CDs > Literature & Fiction > General
3Books > Audio CDs > Literature & Fiction > Unabridged
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( B ) > Berry, Wendell
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
6Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary
7Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General
8Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Historical

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Reviews - What do customers think about Andy Catlett: Early Travels: A Novel?

Life Lessons  Sep 8, 2008
Wendell Berry has created something with the Port William Membership stories that perhaps no other writer has created. While other authors may return to the same character, no other author has crafted a series of tales and novels where the setting is more character than place. Reading the novels and stories of those who inhabit Port William and its environs is like returning home, like reliving your childhood and that of your ancestors, like seeing the world with brand new eyes.

In "Andy Catlett: Early Travels" Berry revisits a character readers familiar with his works have met later on in life. As an old man, Andy Catlett revisits the Christmas he was nine years old and was allowed to travel by himself to visit both sets of grandparents. To him it was the beginning of his manhood, a dividing time between his childhood and his future. He spends two days with his Catlett grandparents, witnesses their sparse economy and the simple life they lead among the encroachments of modernization. He also spends two days with his Feltner grandparents, more well-to-do farmers, but still exemplars of frugality and self-sufficiency. As an older man, he can look back on those few days and realize what he missed along the way and what he gained.

While slim and focused in scope, "Andy Catlett: Early Travels" reaches far and wide. Berry offers insights and observations into today's world without seeming to preach. His knowledge is assured and true and sad, in that through our modernization and our current way of life, we will not know how to provide for ourselves should our current system fail us. In times of economic crisis, these questions seem too obvious to ignore. And while Berry offers the condemnation that the present world may yet have to pay for what it has forsaken, he also offers reassurance and hope.
Can't beat it  Apr 6, 2008
Anything you can read by Wendell Berry is better than just about anything else. Like a quiet stream or a peaceful day in the country, away from the madness of what has become of our normal daily life.Thank you Wendell for the resting place.
Another masterpiece from Wendell Berry  Mar 14, 2008
No words are adequate to describe how Mr. Berry writes. He doesn't give you words to read. He takes you by the arm and gently leads you into another time and place, a place some of us remember when we read his words, but otherwise find too little time to recall. In this book, Mr. Berry once again leads us to Port William. It is winter time. Andy Catlett, the young boy, has the opportunity to go and visit his two sets of grandparents, one set still living on the farm. Andy is embraced by all who live and work there, but embraced in a way that is not coddling or spoiling. He knows his place among these older adults and they remind him in various ways of what that place is. When he goes to his other grandparents who live at the edge of the town, he is part of the same world but in a different way. And Mr. Berry shows us again how the affairs of the world affect these wonderful people, but also how they do not allow themselves to be affected to the point that they lose their place. Near the end of the book, Mr. Berry gives us the type of insight into ourselves that makes us examine, which might allow us to consider life changes, but which for most of us is just a lingering itch in our subconcious. He points out that we worry too much about how much love we have been given in life rather than considering to what extent we have appreciated the love we have received and the love we have extended. Please read this book.
Button Box - Symbol of a different time  May 8, 2007
This book is another gift from Wendell Berry which urges us in its quiet yet strong way to remember where we came from and stop and think about where we are going. Looking back through the span of his life, Andy Catlett describes a time when family ties were strong and children were given the freedom to be responsible, to learn the value of work and to watch and grow within that family network.

I was delighted to read the section about the button box, as I was lucky enough to endlessly play with my grandmother's button drawer in her old Singer sewing machine. I am still playing with those buttons with my grandchildren.

"I went to the closet..behind Grandma's chair and took out her button box. Every house I visited as a child had a button box. It has disappeared now from every house I know, but then it was a necessary part of household economy. No worn-out garment then was simply thrown away. When it was worn past wearing and patching, all its buttons were snipped off and put into the button box. And then when something old needed a new button, or when something newly made needed a set of buttons, the button box provided. Grandma's was an old shoe box better than half full of buttons of all sorts. It was a pleasure just to run your fingers through, like running your fingers through a bucket of shelled corn. My old game with it was to paw through it in search of matching sets of button, especially the intensely colored glass buttons that had come off dresses. I sat on the floor by Grandma's chair with the box in my lap and fished out a set of shapely black buttons and lined them up on the linoleum beside me.

And then it came to me that I was no longer interested in button boxes. Maybe it was because I was now traveling away from home by bus, by myself, but I knew suddenly and finally that my time of playing with buttons was past,just as one summer evening a year or two later, when I had found a perfect slingshot fork in the top of a tree, it came to me that I was no longer interested in slingshots, and I climbed down and left the perfect fork uncut."
"...a knot in the net that has gathered me up...."  Apr 30, 2007

Andy Catlett, title character, says this of one of his beloved elders, and means it about the entire ensemble of parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, family hires, and others in his close-knit world of childhood, a world that also nurtured him into and through adulthood. Nine-year-old Andy's first solo trip the ten miles to Port William is cause for the boy to ponder how best to navigate the expectations, customs, and burdens of the loved ones he visits after Christmas in 1943. Andy, the boy, is joined in his ruminations by Andy, the man already a father many years and a grandfather too, who seasons his recollections of that rite of his youthful passage with the knowledge and wisdom come from time and the bittersweetness of recollecting kin and kith all gone.

The copyright page carries the disclaimer, "This book is a work of fiction. Nothing is in it that has not been imagined." But as other readers have written, one can also imagine fictional Andy and real Wendell slipping into each others skins with ease. Wendell Berry preserves a slice of World War II rural and very small town life with such loving care and meditative dignity that it is difficult not to think of the slim book as intensely personal.

ANDY CATLETT: EARLY TRAVELS is my first dip into the "Port William series." Thanks to the irresistible thumbnail sketches of so many characters who inhabit the other novels, I'll be dipping into more -- such as HANNAH COULTER and JAYBER CROW. Ironically, because this book serves more as an introduction to the slate of Port William denizens than as a fully rounded novel, it earns from me four and a half stars instead of five. But truthfully, ANDY CATLETT: EARLY TRAVELS is no less a treasure for the absence of high drama. Berry gently sucks at the succulent and nourishing marrow of American values and reminds us all of the truly important things in life. As Andy concludes, "And now, as often before, I am reminded how grateful I am to have been there, in that time, with these I have remembered."

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