"Epitaph For a Peach" by David Mas Masumoto. New York : HarperCollins, 1995.
This book was chosen by a planning committee for the second "One Book Sacramento" program in summer of 2005. I declined to read it then, but thought, as a library employee, I ought to at least give it the once-over. I was surprised to find myself thoroughly enjoying Masumoto's account of a year on his peach and grape farm. I found his writing lyrical and introspective, full of richly evocative images of his trees, house, and family, past and present. I enjoyed his comparisions and following his thoughts as he arrived at his plan for the next year. It is certainly about farming, but encompases so much more: philosophy, wonder, humor, rue, fear, anger, submission. Astute observations of other farmers and the migrant farm workers he hires are sprinkled throughout like salt, to savor this blend. I wish I had read it during the program, so I could have attended the author's talks. I would love to meet him! One reviewer captured it perfectly: "a beautifully wrought tale about food that ultimately nourishes the soul."