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