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An unusual--no, an odd--love story. Who would do this? Really? What Lou does... well, it's nothing short of astounding. Nevertheless, this novel (only Annie's second work of fiction), is a stylistic triumph. For AD has pared down the verbage to the absolute bare minimum. The language and the story is all about essentials. For here is the keen and sharp life of the mind as it parces the language of love. What does it mean to love someone--especially when they fail you? What do you have in the end when everything extraneous is cut away? Turns out that there is quite a lot--a lot to live on. And think about. This novel is unforgettable. I loved it!
“At long last, Dillard is at it again. Known for her gift of braiding ribbons of darkness to frame great light, and tragedy and death to reveal the marvel of life, now she's turned her scope on love, marriage, betrayal, and forgiveness. Slow down your life. Savor every word.”
— Pepper Parker, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA
“Brilliant. . . . A shimmering meditation on the ebb and flow of love.” —New York Times
“In her elegant, sophisticated prose, Dillard tells a tale of intimacy, loss and extraordinary friendship and maturity against a background of nature in its glorious color and caprice. The Maytrees is an intelligent, exquisite novel.” — The Washington Times
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. 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 willed bonds of loyalty, friendship, and abiding love. She presents nature's vastness and nearness. Warm and hopeful, The Maytrees is the surprising capstone of Dillard's original body of work.
About the Author
Annie Dillard has written twelve books,including in nonfiction For the Time Being, Teaching a Stone to Talk, Holy the Firm, and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
“Dillard calls on her erudition as a naturalist and her grace as a poet to create an enthralling story of marriage—particular and universal, larky and monumental.” — Publishers Weekly(starred review)
“A superbly written novel. . . . The compact, elliptical narrative will continue to pervade the reader’s consciousness long after the novel ends.” — Kirkus (starred review)
“A rhapsodic novel of our times. . . . In this mythic and transfixing tale, Dillard wryly questions notions of love, exalts in life’s metamorphoses, and celebrates goodness. She casts a spell sensuous and metaphysical.” — Booklist (starred review)
“Dillard, a naturalist at heart, poignantly tracks the relationships between Lou and Toby Maytree across 50 years.” — More Magazine
“Glorious.” — The Miami Herald
“In The Maytrees, Dillard creates a beautiful sense of stillness as she details the unencumbered lives of Toby and Lou.” — The Christian Science Monitor
“Dillard has written an elegant metaphor strewn and at the same time beach-funky, philosophically minded, ocean-side love story set on Cape Cod, between the dunes and the star-splashed sky above.” — NPR's All Things Considered
“Dillard’s erudition and her tendency to pose large philosophical and moral questions are in evidence here as in her other works. . . . The Maytrees is a fine book, both in depth of insight and freshness of language . . . by one of our finest contemporary authors.” — The Roanoke Times
“Each paragraph of Dillard’s novel is a thing of beauty, meticulously crafted and vivid, whether expressing the loveliness of a seascape or a man’s inner turmoil.” — Entertainment Weekly
“A gorgeous meditation on one couple’s slog through marriage, separation and reconciliation.” — The Washington Post
“The Maytrees is a soulful exploration of love and marriage that has the hot, sunburned sting of a seaside summer afternoon. . . . Dillard evokes the rich landscape and characters of Cape Cod—its eccentric clam diggers and poets posing as roofers—while centering her story around one family’s moving tragedy.” — People
“Dillard has all she needs in terms of imagination, and she is handy with the witty rejoinders.” — The Chicago Tribune
“Lyrically enthralling. . . . Dillard tells an engaging, subtle tale.” — The Seattle Times
“Dillard’s writing can be as fine as the constellations in a clear night sky.” — The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“A meditation on love and forgiveness.” — The Wall Street Journal
“Dillard’s poetic descriptions seem to grow up out of the sand and seafoam, and the images she puts into your mind, playfully rendered and wonderfully precise, are spellbinding. Ultimately, this is a story of great tenderness.” — The Arizona Republic
“Brilliant. . . . A shimmering meditation on the ebb and flow of love. . . . The author also weaves recurring images and themes through the narrative with supreme grace. . . . As in all of Ms. Dillard’s writing, transcendent moments abound. ” — The New York Times
“A reservoir of oceanic language, thrilling and sophisticated assumptions of reader intelligence and elegantly lean descriptive detail. . . . Dillard knows how to create Eden on the page . . . exquisite.” — Los Angeles Book Review
“A spare and subtle novel. . . . Like Thoreau, Dillard takes us to that place of rugged independence, that struggle of making a living without forfeiting the mind.” — The Chicago Sun-Times
“Intelligent and poetic. . . . Dillard’s prose is rich, as is her dive into the too-often-shallow waters of love and deception. . . . The Maytrees will not disappoint.” — The Rocky Mountain News
“Breathtakingly illuminative. . . . Beautifully told. . . . Dillard has accomplished the reader’s payoff she so relentlessly detailed almost 20 years ago in The Writing Life. She too has pressed upon us ‘the deepest mysteries.’” — The New York Times Book Review
“Bracingly intelligent, lovely, and humane. . . . Dazzling. . . . The Maytrees is a love story of an unusually adult and contemporary kind.” — Margot Livesey, The Boston Globe