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“Rarely do I read a book that conjures images as vividly and imaginatively as those that Annie Dillard conjures in The Maytrees. A love story, the book charts the love of a couple living in Provincetown on the Eastern Coast of the United States: they give birth to a child, they rift, but where...”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It
“A friend recommended this to me. Said it wasn't much of a story, but the language was beautiful. I needed more story! Read about half of it and then quit.”see full review » see other reviews »
“I think that Annie Dillard writes some of the most beautiful prose that I have ever read. I read Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and then turned around and listened to the audiobook. Recently I read For the Time Being and spend two days in awe of her creativity. She has a beautiful way with words.
Her beautiful writing is all over this novel. I really liked the way Dillard describes Lou and the paring down of her life. Over and over again there were sentences that sounded lovely and chapters that are worth rereading.
Unfortunately, the story did not hang together for me the way Dillard's non-fiction usually does. In Dillard's essays, I usually revel in the connections that she makes. As an author, she puts together facts that I never knew about small things like sand, water, plants. This is what I love about Dillard.
Those connections are not as evident to me in this story. I found Lou and Toby, Pete and Deary interesting but not compelling. I did not turn the pages of this novel anxious to know what happens next. I am not sorry to have read this book, but I will not remember it with the same affection I have for Dillard's non-fiction.
I recommend this book to those who love Cape Cod, they may see things that are familiar and beloved. Also I think readers of contemporary fiction may be interested in the relationships that Dillard creates.”
“A friend recommended this to me. Said it wasn't much of a story, but the language was beautiful. I needed more story! Read about half of it and then quit.”Susan K wrote this review Monday, July 1, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Given to me”MBeuf wrote this review Tuesday, January 22, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Slow, but beautifully poetic. ”Laird H wrote this review Saturday, September 29, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The Maytrees by Annie Dillard
I am truly at a loss on how to review this book. Dillard’s novel rolls around in my head like marbles.
Since I wrote the above sentences I’ve had more time to reflect on the novel. This is what I’ve gleaned.
Annie Dillard has written a book about life: love, loss, deception, betrayal, forgiveness,
redemption, regret, and death. She relates the human condition through the ordinary lives of Lou and Toby Maytree of Cape Cod, Massachusetts following the end of World War II. Toby grew up in Provincetown. As a young adult he achieved success as a poet and wrote several books of poetry widely acclaimed by the critics. In his early thirties, his popularity waned. He became a carpenter.
As a boy he lived in a one room beach shack atop the dunes of Cape Cod. His father, a member of the U. S. Coast Guard, built the family home near the Coast Guard station practically on the tip of the Cape. Following his parents’ death Toby continued living in the shack, writing an occasional poem, building an occasional new porch for a client. That is until he sees Lou for the first time.
Smitten, he courts, marries, and fathers a son with Lou. Still living in the beach shack they join the loosely formed bohemian community and forge lifelong friendships. When Toby unexpectantly leaves Cape Cod, Lou nearly perishes from the grief of betrayal and spends years relearning how to live one moment to the next.
The story comes full circle many years later as Toby and Lou reunite. Together they reconcile and come to terms with old age, illness, and death.
Annie Dillard is a brilliant writer. She writes concisely and lyrically as she explores the human heart while pondering the nature of our existence in the universe.
“Dillard is a wordsmith. Almost every sentence is a poem. How does she do it--a whole book? She writes the characters thoughts, not dialogue, not from action to action--the thoughts of the person. It's amazing. The story takes place by the sea, Cape Cod. And the book reads like the ocean--in a gentle rocking flow. The story is about the paradox of love and forgiveness. It's important. I'd like to read it again.”Ruby wrote this review Wednesday, August 22, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I don't know if anyone other than another writer would love this crazy, intense, smart writing, but I loved it. I loved it. I loved it. Did I say I loved it? If your eyes got the chops, then read this book. It's up there for me with Love in the Time of Cholera and To the Wedding as one of the best love stories of all time. Annie Dillard you need to give us more...”David Biddle wrote this review Friday, June 1, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Quiet sparse, Love story
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..”
“had to love this book - Annie Dillard is my idol. Excellent novel, but still not a match for her essays”Linda G wrote this review Saturday, August 27, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Annie Dillard, what a writer! Her use of language is wonderful, a gem of a construction on every page. She lets the reader connect the dots so she tells a long story in not many pages. It makes me laugh just to see her work and how easy she makes it to read. But the story is a serious one. Lou waits for the love of her life, marries him and lives happily for 14 years. Then life happens some more. Whatever happens, her life is hers to live. This is her second novel. Still, it is her natural history and essays that are my favorites, wonderful as the novels are. ("South above town the Milky Way tangled Mars in its slack nets." "Laughing, locust leaflets . . .")”Carol M wrote this review Thursday, February 21, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No