Wakestone Books

Return the Innocent Earth

In a novel even more timely now than when it first appeared, Wilma Dykeman interweaves past and present.  The Clayburn family perseveres to create a canning company in the Great Smoky Mountains of the South at the turn of the 20th century, while in the present, Clayburn descendant Jon struggles against cousin and company-head Stull's amoral vision.  This struggle unfolds during a crisis involving the testing of a new spray to retard growth of vegetables on the vine. Dykeman's rich variety of characters dramatizes how society and the individual can achieve a mutual understanding in the context of nature and the community.

"This book is about the growth of an agrarian family enterprise into a modern industrial corporation, a juggernaut that destroys its origins for the sake of profit.  Wilma Dykeman has both studied and imagined this evolution, and she understands it fully.  But her book is as moving and necessary as it is because she understands also how conscience may (triumphantly, if uncertainly) survive."
-- Wendell Berry