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Kristin Kimball
7 Aug 2012
Published To

From "Farmville Files: Living the Dirty Life":

With his Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain helped found the literary sub-genre we now call "travel writing." Flashing forward to this season's publishing cycle, we have the chance to encounter Kristin Kimball and her own narrative, The Dirty Life, which tells of traveling upstate from the high-culture and high-couture world of New York City's East Village to interview an enterprising young farmer. The story she relates in The Dirty Life is one of unlikely matches, as the city girl falls in love with the organic farmer and, in the process, discovers the poetry and vitality of agrarian life. 

Of course, these "back to the land" narratives, coupled with books on urban-hipsters and their rural arts, now offer a kind of romance and escape just as commercially viable as Mr. Twain's genre of travel writing (indeed, Ms. Kimball began as a travel writer). If you're reading this from a computer screen somewhere in rural America, or if you number among our country's rural diaspora, your reaction to this recent trend may fall somewhere on a sliding scale between hopeful optimism and downright cynicism.

The difference here, with Ms. Kimball's book, seems to be her honesty and her sense of perspective – how the back-breaking, never-ending work of running a 500-acre CSA is also profoundly satisfying and life-affirming. 

NPR's interview with Ms. Kimball, and an audio-slide of Essex Farms, can be found here.

Art Culture Environment Innovation Rural/Regional Books/Writing Farming/Agriculture NewYork Northeast
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