A Part of the Sky

Robert Newton Peck

Alfred A. Knopf. $18.00
(paper, Random House $4.99)


Robert Newton Peck once offered us A Day No Pigs Would Die, a wise novel based on experiences with his own father. Twenty-two years later, he presents a sequel.

A Part of the Sky follows 13-year-old Rob for eight months as he struggles to maintain, and ultimately loses, the family farm after his father's death. The ox and cow die of old age, and the crops fail in drought. The bank is ready to foreclose on the mortgage. But these gradual defeats are gentled by the family's "silent acceptance" of anything and everything that happens.

Peck's writing can be achingly lyrical. The book takes its title from one of its many graceful passages: "The resting of death becomes a part of the land, as clouds are a part of the sky." Contrasting the earthy lyricism is Peck's deadpan, side-splitting (or, in one instance, seam-splitting) humor.

Don't bother to mark passages memorable for their grace of their humor -- just set the book on your shelf and come back to the whole.

 

This review originally appeared in the December 4, 1994 edition of The Roanoke Times and World-News.

 

Also by Robert Newton Peck:

A Day No Pigs Would Die. Publisher, date

 

This review copyright 1994 by Wendy Morris


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