Friday, June 19, 2020
FFB: THE POET OF TOLSTOY PARK, Sonny Brewer
Much of this book describes how Henry builds his house. And how he gives up things like reading to make himself tougher. There is a lot of Thoreau in Henry Stuart. The reader also gets a lot of philosophizing and very exacting accounts of how he fixes things and how he builds that house. We meet his neighbors although not enough to feel we really know them. Our time with them too often reminds of stock scenes from Little House on the Prairie or The Waltons.
This novel is somewhat based on a true story although the real Henry was called the Philosopher of Tolstoy Park rather than the Poet. There is much discussion about Tolstoy.
I feel pretty ambivalent about this book. I like the idea of trying to live simply, but don't understand why Henry insists on being a hermit for much of the book. Is it just to emulate Thoreau? Why does he give up reading and writing and focus solely on his tasks and nature. I think you need to be an especially gifted writer to make this sort of book work. And I am not sure Sonny Brewer is so blessed. But I am not sorry to have read it. There was enough here to make it worth my while.