In a town where everyone knows everything, the author of this lovely, unconventional memoir came to live in a place no one knows exists. In "Still Life with Chickens" (Hudson Street Press, $21.95), Catherine Goldhammer wakes at midlife to find herself newly separated and several tax brackets poorer, forced by circumstances to move from the affluent New England suburb of her daughter's childhood into a new, more rustic life by the sea.
Against all logic, partly to please her daughter and partly for reasons not clear to her at the time, she begins this year of transition by purchasing six baby chickens, whose job-she comes to suspect-is to pull her and her daughter forward, out of one life and into another.
As she gradually transforms her new home-with its tawdry exterior but radiant soul-she watches her precocious 12-year-old daughter blossom into a stylish and sophisticated teenager. And as she tends to the needs of six enigmatic chickens, Goldhammer's life slowly shifts from chaos to grace.
Beautifully written and quietly profound, "Still Life with Chickens" is an unforgettable lesson in hope, in starting over and in the transcendent wisdom that can often be found in the most unlikely of places.
The brave, funny and heartbreakingly beautiful memoir is available wherever books are sold.
Jim Wicht has requested a thin black line around the photo.