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Trauma Farm

A Rebel History of Rural Life

Regular price $35.00 CAD
  • Sold Out! - Paperback / softback
  • ISBN: 9781553654742
  • Tags: Biography & Memoir, Brian Brett, Food & Drink, Nature & Environment,
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5
  • Published On: 09/04/2009
  • 384 Pages
  • ISBN: 9781553658030
  • Tags: Biography & Memoir, Brian Brett, Food & Drink, Nature & Environment,
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5
  • Published On: 1/24/2011
  • 384 Pages
  • ISBN: 9781926812380
  • Tags: Biography & Memoir, Brian Brett, Food & Drink, Nature & Environment,
  • Published On: 01/09/2010
  • 384 Pages

Trauma Farm was a 2009 book of the year in the Times Literary Supplement and the Globe & Mail, and winner of Writers’ Trust Canadian Non-Fiction Prize.

“Brett's wise and witty meditation on farm life makes a compelling case for a simpler existence in a rural world.”—Globe & Mail

An irreverent and illuminating journey through a day in the life of writer and poet Brian brett, as he tends a small island farm on Salt Spring Island, affectionately named Trauma Farm, with numerous side trips into the natural history of farming.

Brian Brett moves from the tending of livestock, poultry, orchards, gardens, machinery, and fields to the social intricacies of rural communities and, finally, to an encounter with a magnificent deer in the silver moonlight of a magical farm field. Brett understands both tall tales and rigorous science as he explores the small mixed farm—meditating on the perfection of the egg and the nature of soil while also offering a scathing critique of agribusiness and the horror of modern slaughterhouses. Whether discussing the uses and misuses of gates, examining the energy of seeds, or bantering with his family, farm hands, and neighbours, he remains aware of the miracles of life, birth, and death that confront the rural world every day.

Trauma Farm tells a story that is passionate, practical, and frequently hilarious, providing an unforgettable portrait of one farm and our separation from the natural world, as well as a common-sense analysis of rural life. Also available in hardcover.

Brian Brett is the author of Trauma Farm, which won the 2009 Writers’ Trust of Canada Nonfiction Prize, and has written numerous books of poetry and fiction.


"Trauma Farm is a touching and tender memoir, at once humorous and profound, filled with wonderful insights about life as a poet and accidental farmer in what will always be, for Brian Brett especially, the gentle rainforests of home." -Wade Davis

"Brett hangs meditations of farm life, observations on biology and botany, and musings about the modern world on this Joycean structure. His writing is so vivid, the observations so telling, that a reader can virtually feel the smooth heft of a collected egg in the palm of a hand or hear the goofy, honking dawn call of the peacock." -Globe & Mail

"Brett neither champions the rural, pastoral cliches nor flinches in the face of the brutality of the natural world. Instead, he simply offers a deeply personal meditation on life on his small mixed farm . . . he leads the reader on a joyful, shocking, funny and absurdist journey that revels in the beauty of the smallest events." -Canadian Geographic

"Brett successfully maintains a delicate balance between broader, abstract issues: the global and historic context, and personal anecdote: the concrete, day-to-day details of operating a small farm on Saltspring Island, BC." -Geist

"Brett's wit and giddy ambivalence makes this account a stretch more provocative than similar rural memoirs, and an altogether compelling read." -Publisher's Weekly

"In this gloriously detailed memoir, Brett brings us into life on his small working farm on Saltspring Island. A gorgeously thoughtful meditation on the natural world." -Vancouver Sun

"It's easy to sympathize with Brett's world view. He represents the David of small farms against the Goliath of corporate agriculture." -Winnipeg Free Press

"Luxurious prose, striking imagery, and a sampling of his poems add to the tone and flavour of his book, thus making it eminently deserving of the 2010 Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award (BC Book Prizes)." -Subterrain Magazine

"The work was hard, the pay was lousy, it was utter chaos, and I loved it. Brett would call that farming. Trauma Farm is a memoir and a natural history of small farms, rural life, biology, barnyards and botany set on an 18-year-long day. It begins and ends with Brett biblically and literally naked in the dark in the garden and poetically zigzags through time and place." -The Tyee

"You can taste the food he describes, feel the cool morning air on naked skin, smell the dogs and feel the mud. Brett reads almost as an invitation, a provocation, to make the natural, rooted, harmonious existence our own in whatever small ways we can." -Montreal Gazette

"Trauma Farm is a passionate memoir of life on a small farm. Brian Brett rants and raves, bringing us his own version of guns and roses in the guise of wisdom and wit. A great book that asks the reader to read it and then joyfully read it again." -Patrick Lane