The subtitle of this book tells its gist:
"The life story of Jayber Crow, Barber, of the Port William membership, as Written by Himself."
One would not imagine a simple barber from a tiny, rural hamlet in Kentucky to be literate, contemplative, or spiritually complex. Jayber Crow embodies all of these qualities and more.
The deep human need for community is woven through the narrative, and the reader becomes acquainted with the individual threads: Cecelia Overhold, the town snoot; Athey Keith, the last of the prosperous old-school farmers; Troy Chatham, the up and coming, cocky corporate farmer;Mattie Chatham, the steady and strong farmer's wife.
If you have read Jan Karon's books, the Mitford characters are light weight in comparison to the richly developed personalities of the citizens of Port William Membership.
At another level, the author draws you in to the love of the land and has an obvious deep connection to nature that goes way beyond any fashionable brand of ecology.
One finishes the book with an aching longing to recapture the deep sense of community that has been lost in our urban society.
It is not often one reads a book of lyric beauty. This one is a gem.