Publication Date: June 14, 2022
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An itinerant farmhand’s account of the wonders hidden within the ever-blooming seasons of life, death, and rebirth
As a farmer in Upstate New York and Vermont—living hand to mouth, but in love with the land and its creatures—Ellyn Gaydos understands the delicate balance between loss and gain. In choosing such work, Gaydos gives over to cycles bigger than herself; yearning to be a mother, she recognizes, too, how new life is mirrored in everything that surrounds her: livestock, full moons, acres of green that seem to blossom overnight. But there’s tragedy on the farms as well: fields gone barren and animals meeting their end too soon, seasonal hands ground down by the hard work. While small farms struggle to survive in the face of industrial competition, low profits, and loneliness, Gaydos draws us into a violent and gorgeous world where pigs are star-bright symbols of hope and beauty surfaces in the furrows, the sow, even in the slaughter.
In hardy, lyrical prose that recalls the agrarian writing of Annie Dillard and Wendell Berry, Gaydos asks us to bear witness to the work that sustains us all and to reconsider what we know of survival and what saves us. Pig Years is a rapturous reckoning of love, labor, and loss within a landscape given to flux.
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