Nancy London, May 20, 2014 (view all comments by Nancy London)
Annie Dillard's novel invokes the natural world...endless seascapes, starry skies, beach flats at the tip of Cape Cod in Provincetown, as vividly as any of her nonfiction writing, but this book follows the fictional lives Lou and Maytree as they meet, mate, parent, and grow old, as rooted to their landscape as their beloved sand dunes. Dillard explores with lyrical writing the complexity of love and loyalty, and our place in a vast unknowable universe.
Danielle Piper, October 31, 2012 (view all comments by Danielle Piper)
A beautiful and compelling description of a relationship and the variances of love and loss. Dillard is brilliant in her ability to capture the detail and nuance of people, as well as of place. I find her thoughtful words paint pictures of great depth.
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Jared Pitts, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by Jared Pitts)
The Maytrees is definitely my favorite book by Annie Dillard. It uses such beautiful prose that draws you in as if you were one of the characters. It should be read slowly so as to soak up every last drop of genius that Annie Dillard has woven through out its pages. And then it should be read again.
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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 Publishers Weekly,
"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.)
by Christian Science Monitor,
"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."
by Library Journal,
"The poetic language, close observations of nature, and moving, family-centered theme in this short, low-key novel should appeal to a wide readership."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"The compact, elliptical narrative will continue to pervade thereader's consciousness long after the novel ends."
"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."
In this powerfully moving novel, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dillard displays penetrating insight into the human condition with a remarkable story about the unknowable, unbreakable bonds of love and family.
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