Northshire Saratoga: Ellyn Gaydos - "Pig Years"

In person at our NY location!
Event date: 
Wednesday, September 28, 2022 - 6:00pm
Event address: 
424 Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866


We are delighted to welcome you back to this in person event at our Saratoga Springs, NY store!

Ellyn Gaydos will present her captivating new memoir, a “startling testimony to the glories and sorrows of raising and harvesting plants and animals” (Anthony Doerr, best-selling author of All the Light We Cannot See), as an itinerant farmhand chronicles the wonders hidden within the ever-blooming seasons of life, death, and rebirth.


Pig Years catapults American nature writing into the 21st century, and has been hailed by Lydia Davis and Aimee Nezhukumatathil as “engrossing” and “a marvel.” As a farmer in Upstate New York and Vermont, Ellyn Gaydos lives on the knife edge between loss and gain. Her debut memoir draws us into this precarious world, conjuring with stark simplicity the lifeblood of the farm: its livestock and stark full moons, the sharp cold days lives near to the land. Joy and tragedy are frequent bedfellows. Fields go barren and animals meet their end too soon, but then their bodies become food in a time-old human ritual. Seasonal hands are ground down by the hard work, but new relationships are formed, love blossoms and Gaydos yearns to become a mother. As winter’s dark descends, Pig Ears draws us into a violent and gorgeous world where pigs are star-bright symbols of hope and beauty surfaces in the furrows, the sow, even in the slaughter.
In hardy, lyrical prose that recalls the agrarian writing of Annie Dillard and Wendell Berry, Gaydos asks us to bear witness to the work that sustains us all and to reconsider what we know of survival and what saves us. Pig Years is a rapturous reckoning of love, labor, and loss within a landscape given to flux.


ELLYN GAYDOS received an M.F.A. in nonfiction from Columbia University. Her work has received the Richard J. Margolis Award for nonfiction writers of social justice journalism, and appeared in The Texas ReviewColumbia Journal, and Ninth Letter, where she received the 2017 award for creative nonfiction. She lives in New Lebanon, New York.


“What this young writer has given us is more of a memento mori, rendering realistic scenes full of vivid and sometimes bizarre detail, always with an acknowledgment — on the surface or just under it — of the inescapable facts that life entails death, and growth, and arises from decay. . . . The overall effect is of access and intimacy; Gaydos lets us into her world, and we follow her to the worthy and unforgiving place where nature and agriculture meet.”—Kristin Kimball, The New York Times

“Vivid . . . Meticulous and enlivened . . . Gaydos is a writer of such vigorous eloquence that you’ll find yourself riveted. . . . The memoir imparts an abiding sense of the gravity of these acts—of raising, tending, and killing animals; of planting, nurturing, and harvesting vegetables—that lends an almost sacred quality to Gaydos’s prose. . . . Gaydos illuminates a traditional way of life—one of grueling labor, physical exhaustion, and ravenous hunger, filled with challenges yet punctuated by exhilarating joys—that is, in our era of material carelessness, emotional detachment, and spiritual confusion, a reminder of life’s elemental urgency, and, amid the magnified minutiae of each day, its astonishing beauty.”—Claire Messud, Harper’s Magazine

“The rhythms of Ellyn Gaydos’s new memoir, Pig Years, are the rhythms of nature, of life itself and, yes, death, too. No wonder the book, with its slow burn of uncomfortable facts and sober truth, burrows under the reader’s skin.”—Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Chances Are

“Ellyn Gaydos's accounts of her pigs and the farms they live on are told with studied compassion and exquisitely observed detail. She brings us intimately into the vital, unrelenting work of a small produce farm; we feel, with her, the biting cold and the weight of the mud, as well as the peaceful intervals of rest and human companionship. With crystalline expression, Gaydos relates her experience of a dedicated farmer's life, and her very personal testimony is an engrossing pleasure.”—Lydia Davis, author of Essays: One and Essays: Two


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Pig Years By Ellyn Gaydos Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593318959
Availability: Click Title for IN STORE Location
Published: Knopf - June 14th, 2022

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