I believe I may have mentioned once or twice that I’m a sucker for poetic prose. And even if I haven’t mentioned it, the fact has probably become fairly obvious by now. Of course I enjoy a good story and good characters, but in order for me to really love a book, I need to love the writing.
This is what Here and Nowhere Else does best. Not that it does other things badly—on the contrary, I’d say it succeeds admirably on many levels—but in my opinion, its greatest accomplishment is its prose. A taste:
When occasional terns stray inland on the last reaches of an ocean wind, my father simply sees the same white birds he has seen for eighty years. Birds he knows from here and nowhere else. They eddy over the fields, higher than hawks, glinting and white as salt itself.
You wouldn’t know it from that passage, but this book is about food, I swear. It’s the meandering memoir of a year on a small farm in Western Massachusetts. The farm belongs to Jane Brox’s parents, and at the time the book takes place, Jane has only recently returned to live there after many years away.
At its core, I’d say that Here and Nowhere Else is a meditation on homecoming, on recommitment to a life you thought you’d left behind. But because Jane’s story is the story of a farm, it’s also a story of food, one told so well that it will make you want to move to the country and get your hands dirty.