Although Louis Bromfield is best known for his experimentation with soil conservation and crop rotation, the Mansfield native was also a prolific writer, considered to be in the same league as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.
May 2012 Issue
The Wooster Book Company
honors Louis Bromfield by reissuing his classic works.
Here’s a sampling of the works that remain as riveting today as when they were written:
The Green Bay Tree (1924): Bromfield’s first novel centers on a wealthy family who sells out to industry — a decision that alienates the Shan clan from their neighbors.
Early Autumn (1926): Bromfield was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for this pre-feminist story about a woman who returns to her New England birthplace after a 20-year absence to challenge the social order. Through her independence and forthright nature, Sabine Callendar becomes the catalyst for changes in the lives of the people around her.
The Strange Case of Miss Annie Spragg (1928): Eccentric Annie Spragg dies alone in a rooming house with no friends except her fellow boarders. But when she’s discovered with the stigmata of the crucifixion, scarred hands and brow and a pierced side, rumors fly. And so the tale begins, which draws readers into a story of murder, intrigue and the Black Arts.
The Farm (1933): Bromfield’s love letter to land traces the lives of early settlers in north-central Ohio over a century. It paints a poignant picture of how industrialization has changed what the author believes to have been a previously idyllic lifestyle.
The Man Who Had Everything (1935): In this novel, patterned in many ways after Bromfield’s own life, we meet Tom Ashford, a wealthy and famous playwright who appears to have it all: influential friends, a beautiful wife and two sons. Even so, he’s not happy. It seems nothing he does has meaning, and he avoids any intimacy with people in his social circle. Where did everything go wrong? Ashford finds the peace he seeks on a pilgrimage to France.
The Rains Came (1937): Set in India, the novel’s expansive plot centers on a dedicated doctor who is committed to saving his people from devastating flood waters. The physician’s feelings for an Englishwoman complicate the issue and force him to choose between his homeland and his heart’s desire.
Mrs. Parkington (1942): One woman’s Chrismas Eve reminiscences about her life, love, family and future, beginning in 19th-century Nevada and ending in 20th-century Manhattan.
Animals and Other People (1944): Bromfield’s love of all creatures is showcased in this collection of stories, ranging from the tale of a Guernsey bull to a wild turkey and the boxers that the author loved best.
Malabar Farm (1948): Bromfield’s loving homage to the place that clearly captured his heart — and hands.
Out of the Earth (1948): The authors copious ode to soil restoration is the forerunner to present-day environmental awareness.
From My Experience: The Pleasures and Miseries of Life on a Farm
(1955): Enough said.
For more information about Bromfield’s books, visit The Wooster Book Company website at woosterbook.com.