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Goat Song

Goat Song

A Seasonal Life, A Short History of Herding, and the Art of Making Cheese

Acclaimed novelist Brad Kessler lived in New York City but longed for a life on the land where he could grow his own food. After years of searching for a home, he and his wife, photographer Dona Ann McAdams, found a mountain farmhouse on a dead-end road, with seventy-five acres of land. One day, when Dona returned home with fresh goat milk from a neighbor's farm, Kessler made a fresh chèvre, and their life changed forever. They decided to raise dairy goats and make cheese.

Goat Song tells about what it's like to live intimately with animals who directly feed you. As Kessler begins to live the life of a herder -- learning how to care for and breed and birth goats -- he encounters the pastoral roots of so many aspects of Western culture. Kessler reflects on the history and literature of herding, and how our diet, our alphabet, our religions, poetry, and economy all grew out of a pastoralist milieu among hoofed animals.

Kessler and his wife adapt to a life governed by their goats and the rhythm of the seasons. And their goats give back in immeasurable ways, as Kessler proves to be a remarkable cheesemaker, with his first tomme of goat cheese winning lavish praise from America's premier cheese restaurants.

In the tradition of Thoreau's Walden and Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Goat Song is both a spiritual quest and a compelling and beautiful chronicle of living by nature's rules.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416561156 | 
  • June 2009
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About the Author

Brad Kessler
Photo Credit:

Brad Kessler

Brad Kessler’s novel Birds in Fall won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. His other books include Lick Creek and The Woodcutter’s Christmas. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, The Kenyon Review, and BOMB, as well as other publications. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

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