Noel Perrin, author

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Oggie, Dec 1, 2004.

  1. Oggie

    Oggie Waste of bandwidth Supporter

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    Is any one familiar with Noel Perrin's work? He died Nov. 21. NRP has a story on him last night. Would his books or essays be worth looking for?
     
  2. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    Noel Perrin wrote a series of essays about living in rural Vermont which originally appeared in places like The New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, and Vermont Life which were compiled, edited, and reprinted in a series of books: First Person Rural, Second Person Rural, Third Person Rural, and the final volume: Fourth Person Rural.

    They are, in a word... brilliant. Perrin was a sympathetic observer of the country life he found himself in, an observer of human nature and interaction, never nasty in his observations but always true. Or, as Roy Blunt the reviewer said "This is a dangerous book... it made me want to go out and get pigs!"

    It is my opinion that Perrin's books should be required reading of anyone wishing to move to rural Vermont. Period. And his suggestion for Vermont Visas to get new residents acclimated to the Vermont Way of Life should be state law.

    Perrin observed the interaction between rural people and city folks which probably ring true no matter where you are in the country. He describes the "country code" which governs social interactions among country people and comes as naturally to them as breathing... but is so diffcult for people from urban or suburban cultures to understand.

    And he goes into detail on such necessary topics as choosing a truck, keeping a pig, or slaughtering lambs.

    In reading Perrin I always felt as though he was describing my life, my experiences. He understood the frustration of Vermonters who are squeezed between the increasing demands of newcomers, who want better schools, sidewalks, street lights... and the love of our old homesteads which we're being taxed out of. He understood the undercurrents of anger and resentment natives feel for the newcomers, who don't know our ways and don't care, because their ways are better.

    And he understood pigs, lambs, and workhorses. He could write on stone walls and dirt roads.

    Is he worth reading? Oh my yes. Pay any price for an out of print copy of First, Second, or Third Person Rural. Any price. Treasure it. He was a wonderful writer... a rare outsider who truly understood and respected us.
     

  3. Oggie

    Oggie Waste of bandwidth Supporter

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    Thanks for your well-thought and well-written reply.

    He sounded like a very profound man. I'll do my best to find some of his work.

    It will be interesting to discover what, if anything, rural life in Vermont and Oklahoma have in common.
     
  4. MarkNH

    MarkNH Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to hear that, I've read a couple of his * Person rural books which I picked up at the local used book shops. Very pleasant writing style.

    Did it say how old he was when he passed on? My guess would have been that he was not that old.
     
  5. Oggie

    Oggie Waste of bandwidth Supporter

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    He was 77and had Shy-Drager syndrome, a degenerative neurological disorder.