Through the trees, neighbors appeared in a cloud of masks as if disembodied. When you live in a village all your life, everyone is always present. I pressed gently into the saddle, and Crystal walked on.
Over there, Carl Anderman’s farm. A mile down the road, between two rows of tall sugar maples, John Sawyer’s barn shimmering as in a gun sight. Under a pastoral cover, raw life.
When did the feud start? What violation first occurred? Who imposed himself on his neighbor?
A feud, a fire, an affair. Cows in the pasture, men at the lunch counter, violets in an old cream bottle. This is Vermont life—passionate, pastoral, pungent—in F.D. Reeve’s stunning new novella, Nathaniel Purple.
The story is more than the sum of its parts. It is author F.D. Reeve’s love poem to the state of Vermont, which forms a rich, vivid canvas for his intimate portrayal of village life.
But human nature is a bit out of joint. Years of living on the “bony” land has led the village people to jealousies and forbidden couplings.
Reeve draws us into his world through the sharp eyes of Nathaniel Purple, who, as the town’s librarian, is the link to the world of books and rational thinking. He is also an everyman, a native Vermonter, able to embrace the town’s practical justice. And he has a few secrets of his own.
Nathaniel Purple celebrates the strength and timelessness of the natural world above the daily struggle and quotidian quarrels of everyday existence. People live out their destinies while the seasons turn.
128 pp., Trade paperback