On its original publication in 1992 Jane Kramer wrote, "These stories are a gift from one of the great poets of the English language, a chronicle of the heart-stopping seasons of one small corner of La France Profonde and of its stubborn and illusive characters. Merwin’s French peasants are a force of nature, like the blackberry brambles that used to choke his garden, and he cultivates them both with that attentive, exacting, and relentlessly patient genius that great poets and great gardeners share. This is, simply, the most beautiful writing about France I know."
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