Of this second novel in Conrad Richter’s great trilogy, Louis Bromfield wrote:
“The Fields continues the life of Sayward after her strange marriage to the ‘educated’ New Englander Portious, through the raising of their family of eight children. But it is much more than that; it is also the tale of the slow battle and eventual victory over the Trees and that relentless forest which even today marches in and takes over an Ohio field that has been left untilled for a year or two. Bit by bit, through hard work and in hardship, the forest is conquered and the villages emerge into the light surrounded by fields of great fertility. . . .
“The story is told with a feeling of poetry and the picturesque turn of language which characterized the speech of the frontier and can still be heard in the Ohio country districts . . . Sayward, the heroine, is the portrait of a simple, eternal woman dominating in an instinctive way a husband who is far more educated and subtle than herself. The children are real children, each with his own personality. . . .
“It [The Fields] has beauty, form, historical significance, and at the same time reality and the magic which accompanies illusion.”
Conrad Richter was born in Pennsylvania, the son, grandson, nephew, and great-nephew of clergymen. He was intended for the ministry, but at thirteen he declined a scholarship and left preperatory school for high school, from which he graduated at fifteen. After… More about Conrad Richter