Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Book #45: The Maytrees
Title: The Maytrees
Author: Annie Dillard
I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't read much Annie Dillard in the past. For some reason, she has always intimidated the crap out of me. Writers who write fiction, but have a strong social conscience that comes forth in their writing (like Barbara Kingsolver and Annie Dillard), tend to make me nervous, for some indefinable reason.
Whatever the reason, after reading The Maytrees, I feel like I've been missing something by not reading Annie Dillard sooner. For one thing, The Maytrees is an interesting story-- Lou and Maytree meet and marries when they're young, have a child together, and ten years later he leaves with her best friend, Deary. Twenty years after that, Maytree and Deary return so Lou can nurse Maytree back to health and Deary in her final months. But more than just a story, The Maytrees is a great novel of character and place and time. It's not written exactly chronologically, so Dillard reinforces the idea of time throughout with her style. And though it's spare (about 200 pages) it seems somehow sparer. It's not a quick read, even though it's short-- instead, it's more like poetry as prose. And it's defnitely not the last I'll read of Annie Dillard.