Fidelity: Five Stories
By Wendell Berry
Published by Pantheon Book
Copyright © 1992
In “Fidelity” Wendell Berry brings us five short stories that are both tragic and touching. All are set in the farmland, forests, and hollows of Eastern Kentucky and they show us what goes on inside these rural people. They aren’t backwards as some city folk might imagine, but they have strong connections, conviction, and principles, many of which we’ve lost in our own lives.
“Pray without Ceasing” tells us the story of a man who in an attempt to help his son prosper loses everything, and in an act of drunken despair he kills his best friend. Though this is quite a tragedy, a light of personal growth and forgiveness shines through.
“A Jonquil for Mary Penn” is a beautiful little love story with a touching ending that shows that it is the little things that really do count.
In “Making it Home” a WWII soldier reflects upon his time at war and what he has missed about his small Kentucky home, as he makes the long walk home from the station after coming back from overseas.
While “Fidelity” seems to be a battle between the new and the old, advanced medical technology and dignity, it also expresses the loyalty and fealty a son feels for his father.
Lastly, “Are You All Right” is a wonderful way to close this set of stories, because it is a story of neighborly concern and connection.
This collection of stories by Wendell Berry can at times be a little overloaded with family connections and back stories, but the overall feeling of the stories when they come around, makes you not mind so much. Berry makes you feel like your there in Port Williams or Hargrave, or in the fields and hollows in between. This is a book that might just make you want to slow down and reevaluate, it is worth a nice leisurely read.