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Summary

In the latest installment in Wendell Berry's long story about the citizens of Port William, Kentucky, readers learn of the Coulters' children, of the Feltners and Branches, and how survivors "live right on."

"Ignorant boys killing each other," is just about all Nathan Coulter would tell his wife about the Battle of Okinawa in the spring of 1945. Life carried on for the community of Port William, Kentucky, as some boys returned from the war while the lives of others were mourned. In her 70s, Nathan's wife, Hannah, now has time to tell of the years since the war.

©2005 Wendell Berry (P)2008 christianaudio.com

What listeners say about Hannah Coulter

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  • MH
  • 29-12-18

beautiful beautiful, just wonderful

Put me in mind of Marilyn Robinson's Home. Just pages and pages of wise loveliness

1 person found this helpful

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  • Marie
  • 23-01-12

Very sweet story!

Where does Hannah Coulter rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It was very enjoyable. The story flowed. It made me want to live on the land with a community or as they would say, become a

What other book might you compare Hannah Coulter to and why?

It reminded me of Mrs. Mike in how a young girl moves to a new place and finds love and a sense of community.

What does Susan Denaker bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She has the beautiful older woman voice that reminds you of a full life.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It did evoke emotion. The war was very sad, but the family had such a sense of togetherness that it was heartwarming. Grandmam was such a loving character for an abandoned girl that it was heartwarming as well.

4 people found this helpful

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  • E. Pearson
  • 21-10-11

Wendell Berry Needs no "Help"

Wendell Berry is a profoundly beautiful writer. Though I haven't read all of his books, those I have read were thoughtfully provoking, sensitive, subtle, and genuine, with true, memorable characters. In my opinion, Hannah Coulter is among his best, with a narrative that speaks particularly to me as a woman but is not exclusive to men. The story is sensitively drawn, and while it spans decades from before WWII, it gives me as a younger woman a sense of belonging while simultaneously understanding our differences. I feel a great deal of gratitude to Mr. Berry for urging me to my best both as reader and life participant.

Having said this, I reluctantly add that this reader, while dramatically gifted, does not mesh well with Berry???s style. I believe I would have been fine with her as reader of some other literary works, but for Wendell Berry--well, she nearly ruined the book. In trying to figure out why, I can only conclude that Berry's prose contains its own subtle drama and poignancy. Hanna Berry is a simple woman, though possessing a lifetime of wisdom which she speaks in her direct way. Because her character has no artifice, it is jarring for the listener when the reader adds dramatic emphasis, pause, and affectation that were never intended by the author and would never be uttered by Hannah Coulter--unless she were ridiculing for some purpose the very type of "fancy" and pretentious voice inflection this reader imposes on her. It doesn't work. After 10 chapters I had grown so weary of this narrator's false interpretation of Hannah???s character that I quit listening. I waited a few days, then borrowed a copy of Hannah Coulter in print and read the book fresh. To my relief, what I had suspected turned out to be true: Hannah Coulter is a profoundly entertaining and enlightening read, and I would recommend it (with a simple, non-overly-dramatic reader) to anyone.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Diane B.
  • 20-05-20

Sigh

Wistful. Wonderfully ordinary. Lovely. I felt as though I was a toddler being rocked to sleep on grandma Coulter‘s lap. Warm and secure, coming to know what the membership is.

I’ve been listening as I walk down the waterfront. The seemingly unchanging river, the sun, the clouds, spring trees blossoming, birds singing and cool breeze blowing was the perfect environment in which to listen to Hannah Coulter. It has been such good timing to listen to this book in the month of my 70th birthday. I have been reflecting and pondering my life in much the same way. She has captured and expressed many of my thoughts.

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  • Linda
  • 14-03-11

Wonderfully Written

I gave this novel only 3 stars as I have really mixed emotions about the narration of this book. Although well executed the maudlin tone throughout made the book tiresome to listen to for long periods. I kept thinking I would enjoy this book more if I was reading it myself. That said, Wendell Berry's thought provoking story brings to question the changing American culture from rural to city life, and the horrors of war, in the mid-1900's. I would recommend this as a read, not a listen.

5 people found this helpful

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  • BookMimi1
  • 06-07-10

Elegantly narrated and beautifully written

Elegantly narrated and beautifully written . . . another wonderful book by Wendell Berry. Susan Denaker's understated Hannah is utterly believable and deeply moving. Even though I'm not Southern, I heard my grandmother's voice and was glad.

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  • VJM
  • 04-01-21

Not Jayber Crow.

After the story of Jayber Crow, all else pales. The narrator here is hard for me to listen to. Again, I was spoiled by the narrator for Jayber Crow

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  • Lauren Cone
  • 26-08-21

Freedom

Thy will be done and I am free. When America was simple and when living off the land was not a choice.

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  • Christopher Perrin
  • 12-08-21

Comforting voice

This story really touched me especially told in the readers manner. I am in a place where I am looking back on family life so enjoyed her forgiving perspective.

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  • John M. Spyker
  • 15-07-21

Values from the past

One Wendell Berry’s masterful series of Fort William novels, this one follows the life of Anna Coulter growing up into a farming community, marrying twice, and raising a family of children, most of whom leave for the city, while the story ends with the return of a ‘lost’ grandchild. But what makes this book precious
Is the affirmation of country values which once built a solid foundation, seemingly lost in the modern search for “something better”. Some of the most powerfully moving chapters of the book deal with the horrors of war and the terrible impact it has on it survivors.

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  • Blessed Wife and Mama
  • 28-06-21

Lovely memoir of the importance of faith, family, community

At first i thought this would be too slow, but it drew me in its intimate, poetic, sometimes philosophical observations about life and love, faith and hard work, joy and grief. Hannah and her loved ones will stay with me for years, I am sure.