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The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New Hardcover – March 15, 2016
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From the Back Cover
In recognition of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s long and lauded career as a master essayist, a landmark collection, including her most beloved pieces and some rarely seen work, rigorously curated by the author herself.
“A writer who never seems tired, who has never plodded her way through a page or sentence, Dillard can only be enjoyed by a wide-awake reader,” warns Geoff Dyer in his introduction to this stellar collection. Carefully culled from her past work, The Abundance is quintessential Annie Dillard, delivered in her fierce and undeniably singular voice, filled with fascinating detail and metaphysical fact. The pieces within will exhilarate both admiring fans and a new generation of readers, having been “re-framed and re-hung,” with fresh editing and reordering by the author, to situate these now seminal works within her larger canon.
The Abundance reminds us that Dillard’s brand of “novelized nonfiction” pioneered the form long before it came to be widely appreciated. Intense, vivid, and fearless, her work endows the true and seemingly ordinary aspects of life—a commuter chases snowball-throwing children through neighborhood streets, a teenager memorizes Rimbaud’s poetry—with beauty and irony, inviting readers onto sweeping landscapes, to join her in exploring the complexities of time and death, with a sense of humor: on one page, an eagle falls from the sky with a weasel attached to its throat; on another, a man walks into a bar.
Reminding us of the indelible contributions of this formative figure in contemporary nonfiction, The Abundance exquisitely showcases Annie Dillard’s enigmatic, enduring genius, as Dillard herself wishes it to be marked.
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.
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Dillard is among a gifted few who notice things so well, who can describe what she notices too. As I read, I too then noticed (I thought) that I was reading a memoir, a slow unfolding of life story, years unfolding like we unfold tablecloths.
Maybe this is what Dillard was telling me: life is lived when you notice the details. Attend to the moment and play out other moments by describing your experience. Turn it all into flowing story, eager, page-flipping story. But not too eager. While we’re excited by the unfolding cloth, we’re also nudged by Dillard to pay attention. Be excited, but not impatient. Dillard’s kind see things because they wait around that extra moment. Most of us wander away just a second before. Then we hear Dillard yell, “Oh look!” We turn. It’s gone.
Attend, my friend. Attend. Stick around for that extra moment. You’re about to see something.
I do like a well thought out opinion and world view.