David Nolan, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by David Nolan)
actually this is a re-read.I hope that counts. this book mesmerized me . The scope of her thoughts on the passing of time gave me (a not very philosophical guy)time to pause and reflect on my little place in the scheme of things. Like the geology of humanity. I buy it and give it to all my new friends.
Elizabeth L, January 20, 2010 (view all comments by Elizabeth L)
This book was less immediately affecting than The Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, but it combines Dillard's intense curiosity for scientific fact (particularly anomalous cases) and religious history into a lyrical and beautiful prose style that seems to truly reflect the wonder and awe she finds in nature and life. I imagine Dillard as the sort of writer who spends hours pouring over really dense histories and scientific textbooks, only to pull out exquisite details which she renders into poetic insights into the human condition. Even if this isn't how she works, what is certain is the amount of herself Dillard injects into her prose. She wants readers to confront her uncertainties as well as her convictions, and she lays them bare. She also succeeds in the careful craftsmanship such lyrical writing demands. Here, she uses 7 chapters (hardly a coincidental number given how invested this book is in ideas regarding creation, birth, and existence). She divides them each into topic headings, beginning (always) with "birth" and ending (always) with "now." It is an incredible way to organize such vast swaths of information, and to allow the reader to glimpse patterns that may not have emerged otherwise. I recommend this, and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek even more highly. Annie Dillard is one of my favorite writers. Reading her truly feels as if you are encountering someone who has to write in order to make sense of her world.
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Stella, September 16, 2007 (view all comments by Stella)
Annie Dillard intertwines spiritual traditions, glimpses of birth and death, observations of clouds, the life of a famous monk/paleontologist and other seemingly unconnected images in a moving and poetic statement. As she moves between her chosen themes, a glowing portrait of humanity develops. A book which strikes each reader differently, and can be re-read again and again.
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Vintage Books USA -
On the 25th anniversary of her acclaimed "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, " Dillard presents a compassionate, informative, enthralling, and always surprising personal narrative that surveys the panorama of the world, past and present.
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