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The Maytrees

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The Maytrees Cover

ISBN13: 9780061239533
ISBN10: 0061239534
Condition: Standard
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Staff Pick

This stunningly crafted novel of love and loss will not disappoint fans of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Erudite observations of nature show off Dillard's skill as a poetic and lyrical writer, while the astute observations of love and life resonate.
Recommended by Danielle, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Toby Maytree first sees Lou Bigelow on her bicycle in postwar Provincetown, Massachusetts. Her laughter and loveliness catch his breath. Maytree is a Provincetown native, an educated poet of thirty. As he courts Lou, just out of college, her stillness draws him. Hands-off, he hides his serious wooing, and idly shows her his poems.

In spare, elegant prose, Dillard traces the Maytrees' decades of loving and longing. They live cheaply among the nonconformist artists and writers that the bare tip of Cape Cod attracts. Lou takes up painting. When their son Petie appears, their innocent Bohemian friend Deary helps care for him. But years later it is Deary who causes the town to talk.

In this moving novel, Dillard intimately depicts nature's vastness and nearness. She presents willed bonds of loyalty, friendship, and abiding love. Warm and hopeful, The Maytrees is the surprising capstone of Annie Dillard's original body of work.

Review:

"Lou Bigelow meets her husband-to-be, Toby Maytree, when Toby returns to Provincetown following WWII. In the house Lou inherits from her mother, they read, cook soup, play games with friends, vote and raise a child. Toby writes poetry and does odd jobs; Lou paints. Their unaffected bohemianism fits right in with the Provincetown landscape, which Dillard, who won a Pulitzer Prize for Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, describes with an offhand but deep historical sense. Years into the marriage, Toby suddenly decamps to Maine with another local woman, Deary Hightoe; flash forward six years to Lou reading Toby's semimonthly letters (and Deary's marginal notes) 'with affectionate interest.' Dillard, stripping the story to bare facts-plus-backdrop, is after something beyond character and beyond love, though she evokes Lou and Toby's beautifully. Thus, when Deary's heart falters 20 years later and Toby brings her home to Lou for hospice care, Lou puts up water for tea and gets going. She feels too much, not too little, for mere drama, although people who don't know her misread her. In short, simple sentences, Dillard calls on her erudition as a naturalist and her grace as poet to create an enthralling story of marriage — particular and universal, larky and monumental. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Annie Dillard's books are like comets, like celestial events that remind us that the reality we inhabit is itself a celestial event, the business of eons and galaxies, however persistently we mistake its local manifestations for mere dust, mere sea, mere self, mere thought. The beauty and obsession of her work are always the integration of being, at the grandest scales of our knowledge of it, with... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"The poetic language, close observations of nature, and moving, family-centered theme in this short, low-key novel should appeal to a wide readership." Library Journal

Review:

"The compact, elliptical narrative will continue to pervade thereader's consciousness long after the novel ends." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Dillard wryly questions notions of love, exalts in life's metamorphoses, and celebrates goodness. As she casts a spell sensuous and metaphysical, Dillard covertly bids us to emulate may trees...the tree of joy, of spring, of the heart." Booklist

Review:

"There are a few problems with The Maytrees, most of which hinge on plot movements....But the plot quibbles seem insignificant in the face of so much grace." Christian Science Monitor

Review:

"The novel, like the tree, can prove vexatious — but the reading of it contains its own balm." Miami Herald

Synopsis:

In this beautiful, powerfully moving novel, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dillard displays penetrating insight into the human condition. Evocative, engrossing, and profound, this is a remarkable story about the unknowable, unbreakable bonds of love and family.

About the Author

Annie Dillard has written eleven books, including the memoir of her parents, An American Childhood; the Northwest pioneer epic The Living; and the nonfiction narrative Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. A gregarious recluse, she is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

FBB, January 8, 2010 (view all comments by FBB)
The very best novel on long-term realtionships, in this case between a husband and wife, with all of the truth and consequences of love and friendship.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
Andrea Cumbo, February 2, 2008 (view all comments by Andrea Cumbo)
It's a languid, twisting path that Dillard leads us on in this novel, but with each bend in the trail we see nuances of the environments of stamina and love that she has built of words. This book is not for a quick read; it's to be savored, like a stroll or a great piece of chocolate.
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(4 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780061239533
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Dillard, Annie
Author:
by Annie Dillard
Publisher:
Harper
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Friendship
Subject:
Provincetown (Mass.)
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20070612
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8.54x6.06x.82 in. .86 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Maytrees Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 224 pages HarperCollins - English 9780061239533 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

This stunningly crafted novel of love and loss will not disappoint fans of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Erudite observations of nature show off Dillard's skill as a poetic and lyrical writer, while the astute observations of love and life resonate.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Lou Bigelow meets her husband-to-be, Toby Maytree, when Toby returns to Provincetown following WWII. In the house Lou inherits from her mother, they read, cook soup, play games with friends, vote and raise a child. Toby writes poetry and does odd jobs; Lou paints. Their unaffected bohemianism fits right in with the Provincetown landscape, which Dillard, who won a Pulitzer Prize for Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, describes with an offhand but deep historical sense. Years into the marriage, Toby suddenly decamps to Maine with another local woman, Deary Hightoe; flash forward six years to Lou reading Toby's semimonthly letters (and Deary's marginal notes) 'with affectionate interest.' Dillard, stripping the story to bare facts-plus-backdrop, is after something beyond character and beyond love, though she evokes Lou and Toby's beautifully. Thus, when Deary's heart falters 20 years later and Toby brings her home to Lou for hospice care, Lou puts up water for tea and gets going. She feels too much, not too little, for mere drama, although people who don't know her misread her. In short, simple sentences, Dillard calls on her erudition as a naturalist and her grace as poet to create an enthralling story of marriage — particular and universal, larky and monumental. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "The poetic language, close observations of nature, and moving, family-centered theme in this short, low-key novel should appeal to a wide readership."
"Review" by , "The compact, elliptical narrative will continue to pervade thereader's consciousness long after the novel ends."
"Review" by , "Dillard wryly questions notions of love, exalts in life's metamorphoses, and celebrates goodness. As she casts a spell sensuous and metaphysical, Dillard covertly bids us to emulate may trees...the tree of joy, of spring, of the heart."
"Review" by , "There are a few problems with The Maytrees, most of which hinge on plot movements....But the plot quibbles seem insignificant in the face of so much grace."
"Review" by , "The novel, like the tree, can prove vexatious — but the reading of it contains its own balm."
"Synopsis" by , In this beautiful, powerfully moving novel, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dillard displays penetrating insight into the human condition. Evocative, engrossing, and profound, this is a remarkable story about the unknowable, unbreakable bonds of love and family.
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