Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

PAPERBACKS

August 02, 1992|CHARLES SOLOMON

HILL SONG: A Country Journal by Lee Pennock Huntington, illustrated by Elfriede Abbe (The Countryman Press, PO Box 175, Woodstock, VT 05091: $12.95) and FRENCH DIRT: The Story of a Garden in the South of France by Richard Goodman (HarperPerennial: $10). A former Quaker relief worker, Huntington contemplates the passing of the seasons on her Vermont farm. The land was originally cleared for agriculture in the 18th Century, and she feels a strong bond to the former occupants of her family's home. She describes the beauties of the rocky land with a grateful reverence, seeing in its fields and forests "an innate godliness . . . invested with dignity which asks a like dignity from those who dwell with it, though they may not always find the strength to respond." Although he takes a more humorous approach to the subject, Goodman is equally devoted to the land. Gardening, he believes, "reduces me to who I am. It casts off the superficial and the artificial. It leaves me with the essential, the economical, the no-frills me." During the year he spent in the tiny village he calls St. Sebastien de Caisson, Goodman felt that planting a garden would make him feel more like a part of the community. Thousands of miles from home, he found himself putting down roots alongside his tomatoes and melons and cucumbers. But unlike Huntington, Goodman, in a lively book, also describes the less appealing aspects of gardening, including the back-breaking, hand-blistering labor, the irrigation problems and the often contradictory advice of the local experts.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|