On Brassard’s Farm
Ann Turner wants to get away from it all–her job (middle school teacher), her ex-husband (cheating scumbag), her city life in Boston (harried and superficial). With a small inheritance, she looks for a piece of land. Just a little place in the middle of nowhere. Vermont, maybe. Breathe the fresh country air. Meet some down-to-earth folks. Buy fresh corn and blackberries from a roadside stand.
Well … don’t we all?!
But most of us aren’t dealing with Ann’s mess of a life. Her dismissal for ‘inappropriate touching’ of a student. Friends who abandoned her. The brother who went missing several years ago.
Daniel Hecht’s On Brassard’s Farm is the story of how Ann made sense of it all. By buying an (almost) inaccessible piece of land on a farm in Vermont. Tent living in the woods for six months of the year. Working on a dairy farm to pay off unexpected debt. And questioning, always questioning, how she came to that place in her life. The property on Brassard’s farm was the means to confront “[her] own bramble patch, [her] own deep woods.”
And the hard work paid off.
She faced fear. Physical exhaustion. Utter loneliness. Even her rage. Gradually, she begins to feel “as if I possessed some degree of luminosity again. I felt a strand of resilience inside, strong yet supple, in body and psyche, as if I’d been at least party woven back together.”
Of course she finds love, again, too. It’s probably Ann’s revelations about love and loneliness that touched me the most. Like always, I’m so taken by a novel where a male author speaks with such accuracy about women’s inner lives–and Hecht did this well. Like chick lit on a deeper level.
(I also learned a lot about farming, dairy cows, trimming trees, and growing hops. Sometimes, quite frankly, a little too much, but still.)
On Brassard’s Farm is a good read.