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There are, of course, facts aplenty here: the author is among our keenest living observers of the natural world (check out her soft-core account of two snails mating in chapter 7). But all roads lead Dillard back to God, who seems to be practicing a divine variant of benign neglect:
God is no more cogitating which among us he plans to be born as bird-headed dwarfs or elephant men--or to kill by AIDS or kidney failure, heart disease, childhood leukemia, or sudden infant death syndrome--than he is pitching lightning bolts at pedestrians, triggering rock slides, or setting fires. The very least unlikely things for which God might be responsible are what insurers call "acts of God."Natural calamity is an old fascination of the author's, going clear back to Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and Holy the Firm. Here it allows her to make her strongest argument yet on behalf of the Almighty's laissez-faire policy--while suggesting that His immanence in fact depends on our belief.
Yet even in her earnest pursuit of holiness, Dillard tends to hit the occasional speed bump. At one point she throws up her hands in exasperation and declares: "I don't know beans about God." This is hardly the stuff of an airtight theological argument, is it? But happily, Dillard possesses the same quality she ascribes to Teilhard, "a sort of anaerobic capacity to batten and thrive on paradox." So her contradictions are worth more to the reader than her consistencies. They enrich her narrative, yanking her back from the precipice of easy (or even moderately easy) belief. And Dillard's penchant for paradox ensures that For the Time Being--which aims, after all, to encompass God and all his works--always operates on a human, heartbreaking scale. --James Marcus --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I had never read any of Annie Dillard’s works prior to this, and even after 2 hours of listening to _For the Time Being_, I hadn’t figured out exactly what was going on or even... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Denny McBride (The Ceaseless Reader)
So disappointed. Dillard came upon a text book of horribly deformed babies and uses it as a basis for her meanderings. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Nancy Ervin
Thought as expressed in unassailable floating patterns. Sometimes uncomfortable but always worth the intake.Published 3 months ago by Alexander Zox
I've been procrastinating the review of this book, not because I didn't like it but rather because I enjoyed this marvelous work so much that I knew I couldn't do it justice. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Jayne P. Bowers
Exactly as described! Incredible bargain! Essentially, I paid one penny plus shipping for this beautiful book in excellent condition. Wow.Published 14 months ago by Ralph Hammann
I've heard the name Annie Dillard from some circles of spirituality I respect, and I've been eager to read some of her writing, especially Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Lisa Bartelt
For the first part of this book, I read with interest, the seeming disconnected topics:Birth, Sand, Clouds, China, Encounters, Numbers, Israel, Thinkers, Evil, Now. Read morePublished 16 months ago by S.Z. M.