The Poet of Tolstoy Park
In 1925, when Henry Stuart learns that he is terminally ill with tuberculosis, he proceeds to do a most natural act: he takes off his boots and feels the earth between his toes and then walks home barefoot in the rain. The novel, based on a true story, progresses as follows. In the style of Stuart’s strongest influence, Tolstoy, the sixty-seven-year-old man leaves his two sons, friends, and ample home in Idaho in search of a more simplistic life in Fairhope, Alabama. His journey to this unknown area is meant to help him spiritually face the reality of his impending fate. After Stuart arrives in Fairhope, he is inspired to build a round cottage by himself. This back-to-basics project opens up the opportunity for Stuart to be more self-sufficient and focused on finding his true inner feelings. Brewer, in his first novel, eloquently creates a touching and compassionate story about an elderly man who wants to learn a peaceful way to embrace death. Brewer teaches and inspires us to do just that.