The idea of this blog is to facilitate the love of reading by collecting news about new books, or sometimes good old books. It is also dedicated to stamping out the scourge of e-books, Kindles, Kobo's, i-Pads, and all other such abominations.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Poet of Tolstoy Park

I read the Poet of Tolstoy Park by Eric Brewer when it first came out in hardcover, about a year ago and because it is now in paperback, I think it's a book worth searching out.

It's the story of 67 year old Henry Stuart who has been diagnosed with terminal, non-contagious tuberculosis. It's 1927 and Henry, a retired professor lives in Idaho. His doctor has recommended that he move to a warmer climate and Henry, a widower, chooses to leave his home, his two sons and his best friend to journey to Fairhope Alabama, an intentional community near Mobile. He divests himself of everything, except at few clothes (giving away his boots to a porter on the train as he approaches Mobile) and a few books, including Tolstoy's Calendar of Wisdom, a book of poems by Rilke and a small sketch book. He does have his loom sent, so that he can continue weaving.

Inspired by Tolstoy's beliefs about land and wealth, Henry purchases 10 acres and builds a small round house of concrete block. His journey is to "perfect" the soul awarded to him." and he believes that one's unwillingness to give up possessions is the true spiritual burden.

Henry reclusiveness is hard for his neighbours to understand as is his distain for wearing shoes or purchasing those things that might make his life easier. This philosopher -poet is however happy to talk his ideas, which are not always popular.

Sonny Brewer, a bookseller in Fairhope Alabama has done a remarkable job of telling Henry's story. He brings to life the important people in Henry's life both in Idaho and Alabama. Interestingly 'those last few months of Henry's life' stretched into years and included visits by people like Clarence Darrow.


Anonymous Lonelybookworm said...

Unbelievable! Where do you come up with all these rare gems? Now there's another one I have to add to my lis. I'll never catch up.

4:13 PM  

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