With Fidelity Wendell Berry revisits the Port William membership, a fictional rural community in contemporary America. These five stories explore the love, trust, and wisdom of people modern society often neglects: small farmers, housekeepers, people who work the land and know their roots. Their "common" sense is their sense of community, compassion, and reverence for nature - values that must become common again if our society is to survive, if the earth itself is to survive. In "Pray Without Ceasing, " Andy Catlett sits at his grandmother's side, seeing his violent family history through her eyes. Listening to her story, he comes to know his place as a child of forgiveness, a link between past and future. In "A Jonquil for Mary Penn, " a young bride sits alone, sick with a fever and haunted by past decisions, and slowly remembers her newfound kinship. In "Making It Home, " Arthur Rowanberry returns from World War II, travelling by foot across familiar land. "Now I know a mighty power that can pass over th earth and make it strange, " he thinks as he moves from the work of destruction toward the work of creation. And In "Fidelity, " Danny Branch "rescues" his father, Burley Coulter, from life-prolonging hospital machinery in a crime that has no name. These tales, and the people they tell of, are woven together by an unshakable love and faithfulness. This fidelity is present in Elton, Mary Penn's husband, who sees that his wife is ill and asks a friend to look after her, and in the men who walk into the late night to check on flooded neighbors in "Are You All Right?" And it is present in Henry Catlett, Danny Branch's lawyer, as he explains to the detective investigating Burley's kidnapp "A man has disappeared from your world, Mr. Bode, that he wasn't in for very long. ..."He has disappeared into his people and his place, not to be found in this world again forever." Wendell Berry once again proves himself a master storyteller.
WENDELL BERRY is the author of more than two dozen books, including Fidelity, What Are People For?, The Unsettling of America and Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community. He lives and writes on his farm in Kentucky and teaches at the University of Kentucky.