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Steerforth Press, 1994 - Authors, American - 192 pages
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Twenty Years of Reconnoitering in the dooryards, workshops, and woodlots of his neighbors come to fruition in Temple, George Dennison's sustained meditation on life in rural Maine. Often lyrical, his close observations on the changing New England seasons are themselves like miniature paintings. But Temple is also a gritty portrait gallery of a people and their values, both as they exist today and as they were in the not very distant past. "I love these old ones, " Dennison wrote, "who knew a way of life and have virtues and are dying." Dennison takes us to visit Eddie Fontayne, the French-Canadian woodworker who carves fiddles as well as axe handles and fumes over his failing eyesight. We meet Esther who has spent her life and her limited resources in caring for her fellow creatures, human and non-human. And Mr. Fife, the blacksmith and backroad eccentric, who surely knows the best way to do everything, from pruning trees to frying leeks. And Dennison returns again and again to the recurrent theme that underscores the precariousness of all this natural and human abundance - the loggers, the men who work in the woods, the most dangerous of local callings, with their scarred faces, missing limbs, blinded eyes, and their helpless anger at the human forces - both business and government - which they cannot control but upon which they now grudgingly depend. Like James Agee in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, Dennison has written a social history of a place. But Temple is much more; it is both a celebration and a lament for a self-reliant American culture that is now vanishing.

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User Review  - satyridae - LibraryThing

This book was well-written but I didn't find it particularly insightful or interesting. I got maybe halfway through before deciding that life is too short. Read full review


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