Monday, February 18, 2013

Review: The Woefield Poultry Collective by Susan Juby

As a farm girl transplanted to a city, I have apt memories of the pleasures and absurdities of farm life as well as an understanding of how a city dweller would view such situations. The author has the ability to describe, with extreme accuracy and humour, farm situations and the city dweller's reaction. The main character inherits a small farm that is unproductive and heavily in debt from her uncle. She tries, through extreme positivity, several insane schemes to make money but settles on a bluegrass festival. 
The detailed descriptions in this novel are so perfect. For example, “ [a]fter a minute or two, a chicken emerged. It walked with an odd back-and-forth motion that reminded me of a heartbeat. I gasped when it cleared the cage because it was no regular chicken. It had a glossy black body and a head topped with an elaborate arrangement of white feathers, like the sort of hat a British aristocrat might wear to a wedding.” (page 117)
And “the sheep at the fair were spotlessly white and soft and fluffy – like summer clouds. And so docile! They allowed their owners to lead them around without any argument at all. No kicking, no bleating, no trying to pull on the rope and run away. They were half an step away from being pillows.” (246)
While the content and the writing style of this novel is light and inconsequential it made me laugh out loud several times and left me smiling. Not every author can accomplish that. I highly recommend this novel.


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