Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
-Wendell Berry from Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
The Second Life of Abigail Walker begins with this epitaph, an excerpt from one of Wendell Berry's poems (see "Beyond the Book"), and the first character we encounter in the story is, in fact, a fox. She is not an ordinary one, though. She is magical, has been in many places over many times, and is one who has witnessed many stories unfold. This time she makes an appearance in Abby Walker's story.
Abby, who is in sixth grade, wants to be just average and blend in. She is desperately trying to fit in with the "medium" girls. Medium smart, medium tall, medium ability at sports. But when she doesn't agree with a nasty comment...
Beyond the Book
Wendell Berry is a writer of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and editorial, as well as a cultural critic and a farmer. Frances O'Roark Dowell's The Second Life of Abigail Walker
begins with an epitaph taken from one of his poems. Berry lives in north central Kentucky on a 125-acre farm called Lane's Landing. The intersection of humanity and landscape, the conviction that human beings must learn to live in harmony with the organic rhythms of the land, is at the center of his life's work. He specifically believes the answers lie in local connections, in people understanding and relating to the land that is directly under their feet.