Beginning naked in darkness, Brian Brett moves from the tending of livestock, poultry, orchards, gardens, machinery, and fields to the social intricacies of rural communities and, finally, to an encounter with a magnificent deer in the silver moonlight of a magical farm field. Brett understands both tall tales and rigorous science as he explores the small mixed farm—meditating on the perfection of the egg and the nature of soil while also offering a scathing critique of agribusiness and the horror of modern slaughterhouses. Whether discussing the uses and misuses of gates, examining the energy of seeds, or bantering with his family, farm hands, and neighbours, he remains aware of the miracles of life, birth, and death that confront the rural world every day.
Trauma Farm tells a story that’s poetic, passionate, practical, and frequently hilarious, providing an unforgettable portrait of one farm and our separation from the natural world, as well as a common-sense analysis of rural life.
“Trauma Farm is a superb, wise, witty, and vivid weave of barnyard tales with deep insights into the fraught symbiosis of animals, plants, and man. Brett is a bold thinker and a tough yet lyrical writer.” —RONALD WRIGHT, author of A Short History of Progress
“Brett’s specialty is finding the unusual among the commonplace.” —Montreal Gazette
“Trauma Farm is a touching and tender memoir, at once humorous and profound, filled with wonderful insights about life as a poet and accidental farmer in what will always be, for Brian Brett especially, the gentle rain forests of home.” —WADE DAVIS, author of Light at the Edge of the World
“A wonderful meditation on farm life and by extension life itself—the immediacy of moments and small miracles, the feel of things in all their thing-ness in the hand and nose and eye, the satisfactions of hard work well done and well-worn tools, the wild creatures and the seasons and their weather—all of it, told intelligently and often humorously, by a writer with a welcome fresh sharp eye.” —PETER MATTHIESSEN, author of The Snow Leopard
“Trauma Farm is a passionate memoir of life on a small farm. Brian Brett brings us his own version of guns and roses with wisdom and wit. A great book that asks the reader to read it and then joyfully read it again.” —PATRICK LANE, author of Red Dog, Red Dog
“The small farm has become a beacon for those who seek a way out of an industrial food system that has robbed us of both good taste and basic humanity. Brian Brett has lived that alternative and here he comes with the gumboot poet’s fearless tongue to speak truth to those who would reduce the life-and-death work of farming into a pastoral idyll. He offers romance of a different kind: a hard-earned love of chaos, the absurd, and beauty gilded with sorrow. If it’s hope you’re looking for, you’ll find it in the fortifying madness of Trauma Farm. You may never want to leave.” —J.B. MACKINNON, author of The 100-Mile Diet and Plenty
“An engaging, quirky narrative of farm life which often reads more like poetry than prose.” —Nicolette HAHN NIMAN, author of The Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms
The bestselling Trauma Farm was a 2009 book of the year in both the Times Literary Supplement and the Globe and Mail. It won the Writers’ Trust Canadian Non-Fiction Prize, Shortlisted for the William Saroyan Prize. Shortlisted for the Haig-Brown and Hubert Evans Prize. Winner of the BC Bookseller’s Choice Prize. Longlisted for the BC Achievement Award. Winner of the IPPY Bronze Medal. Winner of the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year, Nature Writing Award. 2010.
Available through Amazon and Greystone Books.