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The Living: A Novel Paperback – November 12, 2013
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Dillard's finely crafted prose and Luckinbill's sincere voice carry you back to the early days of American expansion, into the truly Wild West and the stone-hard life these settlers would be forced to endure. "She had cried out to God all day and maybe all night, too, that he would lend her strength to bear affliction and go on. She was not aware that underneath she prayed another prayer as if to a power above God, or at least to his better nature, that he was finished with the worst of it." Of course, God isn't finished, and neither are these brave souls. Dillard opens their world slowly, stretching the horizon generation by generation, tethering the fate of one small family to that of the struggling town that they are helping to build and, ultimately, to the inexorable rise of the emerging nation. (Running time: six hours, four cassettes) --George Laney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
- Dean James, Houston Acad. of Medicine/Texas Medical Ctr. Lib.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is not to say that Dillard sacrifices literary quality to make philosophical points. To the contrary, some of the sentences are simply breathtaking. One of my favorites occurs early in the novel, when Dillard is describing the forbidding topography of the Pacific Northwest from the perspective of one of the settlers:
"God might have created such a plunging shore as this before He thought of making people, and then when he thought of making people, he mercifully softened up the land in the palms of his hands wherever he expected them to live, which did not include here."
This novel can be difficult at times, but it is worth the effort and rewards the close reader.
The plot here - about the settlement of the Pacific Northwest, and some characters in and around Bellingham, Washington - is fairly interesting, although not compelling.
After about 100 pages, I started to find the title ironic: I felt it should be called "The Dead and Dying." One gets a real taste of how difficult life was in the 19th century, when the frontier was still being opened.
But Dillard's style does not mesh well with the demands of a novel. She is far better at conveying her innermost thoughts; her memoirs and essays are what make her so good. If you have the choice, read those rather than this.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
VERY long and at times too descriptIVE but otherwise great writing and feel for the early settlers and Indians in the NW USPublished 5 months ago by Hester Ohbi
A big, bold engrossing book. It filled me with awe for the people who settled the North West of our country. I recommend it to friends and to you.Published 8 months ago by Mandy Evans
Loved how the author blended history, hubris and character development.Published 13 months ago by outdoorgirl
Not an easy read but worth the effort. The early Northwest pioneers were incredibly brave, strong in both body and character. Read morePublished 14 months ago by C. McIntosh
I don't live in the Pacific Northwest right now, but lived in the setting of much of the story, in Bellingham, WA, many years ago. Read morePublished 15 months ago by M. Merchant
Her writing style drove me crazy. I stopped reading 1/4 way through. Too much work for me.Published 19 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book was not what I expected, it took hundreds of pages to understand that the book simply chronicled the times and the lives of certain settlers in the west. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Eleanor White
This book is small and a quick read written in Annie Dillard Style and philosophy. Annie is very descriptive of her characters and their environment. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Retired OT