Roy Barrette celebrates small-town Maine life in the 1960s and 1970s
May 12, 2022— A Countryman’s Journal, writer Roy Barrette’s observations of the quiet, simple life in small-town Maine, is being reissued by Islandport Press with an official release date of May 24.
A Countryman’s Journal: Views of Life and Nature from a Maine Coastal Farm, Barrette’s first book of essays, was based on his award-winning column in The Ellsworth American and The Berkshire Eagle. The book was originally published in 1981. Barrette retired to Brooklin, Maine in the 1950s where he and his wife, Helen, owned a small saltwater farm, raised a few vegetables, tended to a few animals, and often enjoyed a fine martini with famed writer E.B. White.
The former insurance salesman possessed a deep appreciation for old New England country ways—from canning his own vegetables and steaming freshly dug clams to taking walks with his spaniel and helping birth calves—and through them created a world for himself dramatically different from his former urban life. His essays reflect the slow cadence and the joy of his new life.
Barrette wrote, “We did not come here to escape anything, but to find something. … What we desired was what a great many people seek in these latter days of the twentieth century—an opportunity to rediscover some of the virtues of a more stable, simpler society.”
Barrette, who died in 1995 at the age of 98, also penned two additional books and wrote essays for Downeast and Yankee magazines. Davis Thomas, his editor at Down East, wrote of Barrette and his first book, "I cannot praise the book enough. To read Roy Barrette is to learn why people come to Maine."