Between the Bookends: My First Tractor and Memory of Trees
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A memoir of a family farm, Memory of Trees peels away the layers surrounding the loss of a Minnesota family's farm. The decision to sell, the result of changing times and economies, is a foregone conclusion. Instead, author Gayla Marty looks back from that decision, capturing what it meant to be a farm family in the last half of the 20th century, and what it means to leave the land behind.
A keen observer of her world, Marty summons scenes from her youth and childhood as though they happened yesterday. The reader who comes from a rural background will find the author's recollections astonishingly authentic and true. Because Marty is both captivated by the farm's history and bound to it emotionally, the reader is richly rewarded with an unusually well-rounded description of time and place.
Memory of Trees goes well beyond hard decisions of the early 1990s. Marty weaves a rich tapestry of the seasonal rhythms of farm life, the history of ancestors who crossed the Atlantic to make a new life in America, family relationships, love for the environment before it was fashionable, abiding faith, relentless work and an ever changing world. This is familiar ground for farm folk, but only rarely is the tale told in such compelling, beautifully written words.
Memory of Trees: A Daughter's Story of a Family Farm, by Gayla Marty, hard cover, 248 pages, University of Minnesota Press, $24.95, available through Farm Collector Books. FC
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