1976 Literary Award

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book coverThe Land Remembers

by Ben Logan
Penguin Group (USA) Inc , 1975

Logan grew up on a high hilltop farm in Wisconsin, so remote that the family called it Seldom Seen. Fishing for bluegills, sledding downhill on an ice sheet, stuffing himself on pies and cakes and lemonade at the school picnic - that's about all the "action" there was in his boyhood years; yet it's wonderful how varied, how satisfying, above all how coherent, life was on the farm. The seasons turned slowly, the farm chores had to be done each day, but the routine was never monotonous. Ben, the youngest of four brothers, was in intimate touch with the mood of the land and the people - he came to know the laying strategies of hens, the rich texture of the soil at planting time, the song of the first whippoorwill which was the long-awaited signal that summer had arrived. From his father and from the earth itself Ben learned to "surrender to the superiority of the land"; learned that it was the crops which decided how long the working day would be. The calendar meant nothing to the land; to farm successfully a man had to read the soil and the sky. Somehow Logan manages to describe that simpler, more wholesome life, without succumbing to excesses of nostalgia and sentimentality. The Logan family, hardworking and seeped in country wisdom, is engaging, but in the end it is the land that prevails - prolific and desolate, mysterious and fertile. (Kirkus Reviews)