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The Maytrees: A Novel by [Dillard, Annie]
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The Maytrees: A Novel Kindle Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 153 customer reviews

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Length: 244 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

David Rasche's reading of Annie Dillard's lovely new novel is the epitome of serene. He appropriately treats this tale of love lost and regained with calm attention and stillness. However, the combination of his deliberate and thoughtful reading, similar to the way many poets read their poetry, and Dillard's spare and elegant prose may not be for everyone. Add to the mix the soothing sounds of the Windham Hillesque piano pieces that open and close each disc and a listener may be lulled into an almost meditative state or beyond. This audio experience is like floating on ocean swells as the surf roars in the distance: powerful, mesmerizing and relaxing. In a way, it is the perfect beach book: listen as you soak in the sun's rays and drift in and out of the finely crafted, lithe narrative. Be warned, however: this vast and loving epic may not be suitable listening for a tired driver with a long night's journey ahead.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, 1975) meditates on the mysteries of marriage and the nature of forgiveness in her second novel. Critics generally praised her erudite, lyrical prose; evocative descriptions of Cape Cod's landscape; and perceptive analyses of individuals and relationships. A few, however, voiced complaints: some character traits aren't believable (for example, Lou and Toby never quarrel); other plot points aren't realistic (Deary suddenly transforms herself from a nomadic beachcomber into a savvy businesswoman); and a few of Dillard's metaphors are clumsy and confusing. However, Dillard's aim-and primary success-is plumbing the depths of love, asking piercing questions, and making profound connections.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 447 KB
  • Print Length: 244 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books (October 13, 2009)
  • Publication Date: October 13, 2009
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000ROKXZ6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,730 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James B. Davidson on June 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
It's a slim book about a four-letter word. Annie Dillard's new novel, a spare 224 pages, is essentially a love story. The Maytrees is about the marriage of Lou Bigelow and Toby Maytree. Set in Provincetown, Cape Cod, they meet just after World War II. They fall in love and marry. Then life happens. A child is born. An accident occurrs. There is a betrayal. Time passes and people age. Then there is a time for returning home. That's the bare bones of the matter. Only, what matters more--as this story is told, more than merely what happens--is how these characters think about what happens. Theirs is a rich life of the mind, quietly reflecting on the choices they've made, and how to live with them. (Bones, however bare and broken, do figure into the story as well.)

In other words, and not many words, this novel is more a telling of how these two individuals come to understand the nature and meaning of love within the context of their own unfolding and unconventional story. As Maytree himself works it out, "The question was not death; living things die. It was love. Not that we died, but that we cared wildly, then deeply, for one person out of billions. We bound ourselves to the fickle, changing, and dying as if they were rock."

In The Maytress, love (What is it? How is it made? Can it be done?) is precisely the question. And it is the one question that asks so much of everyone, perhaps no one more than Lou herself. For Lou, who once could be mistaken for Ingrid Bergman, might well be mistaken later on for the classic patient and long-suffering wife, to say nothing of the prospect of canonization. But, she'd think nothing of the kind. What she ends up doing (and it's a stunner!) is something she thinks"anyone would" do.
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Format: Hardcover
Believe it or not, this is the description of the book's saint-like protagonist after making love.

What's up with Annie Dillard? Is she out of control, or is the level of her genius such that merely mortal minds (like mine) have trouble comprehending?

Surprising to say, I think it's the latter.

Here's a sampling of other quotations....

* After they married she learned to feel their skin as double-sided.

* His brain lobes seemed to part like clouds over sun.

* Everything he saw was lower than his socks.

* It was this loping shore of mineral silence people meant when they said "the dunes".

* Above the Atlantic's rim she saw a rain's fallstreaks curve.

* She and Petie laughed to flout fate by smashing together, thigmotropic.

* Low tide smelled like green pennies.

* She scoured the sink till the sponge reverted to spicules.

* He witnessed ghost parts and motes on parade disappear.

* Graywacke stones, dirty sea ice, stubby far plane.

* From solid citizens they sublimed to limbless metaphysicians.

* The swale drained the dunes like a vein.

* Sometimes in the middle of their sleep, in the back of the night with the metal wind and stars forcing the room through the window, they woke together as if at a quake.

* Having limited philosophy's objects to certainties, Wittgenstein later realized he broke, in however true a cause, his favorite toy, metaphysics, by forbidding it to enter anywhere interesting.

* Her brain would deliquesce too, and with it all that she had learned topside.

* Once he saw a fireball.

So what is this stuff?

It's an existential love story told in otherworldly language.

I couldn't put it down.
6 Comments 76 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
In 1973, Sweden's Ingmar Bergman directed a film titled Scenes from a Marriage, chronicling the stages of a relationship that culminates in the divorce and eventual reconciliation of the protagonists. That title could have served equally well to describe Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Dillard's affecting second novel, THE MAYTREES.

The main action of THE MAYTREES takes place in and around Provincetown, the famous artistic community on the tip of Cape Cod. Although the novel's time span is not spelled out with precision, it encompasses roughly 40 years, beginning shortly after World War II, when Toby Maytree, an aspiring poet and handyman, meets Lou Bigelow, a woman he at first mistook for Ingrid Bergman, "because everyone shows up in Provincetown sooner or later."

Soon, Toby and Lou are married and the parents of a son, Petie. To all outward appearances, their relationship is idyllic and the bonds that hold them together strong, until the day when Petie suffers a broken leg in a bicycle accident and Toby chooses that occasion to announce he's leaving Lou after 14 years of marriage to move to Maine with Deary Hightoe, a family friend and something of an eccentric who is fond of sleeping on the beach, swaddled in a canvas sail. Toby and Deary live contentedly in Maine for 20 years, while Lou and Petie (known as "Pete" as he becomes an adult and earns his living as a commercial fisherman) must come to terms with Toby's abandonment. Eventually, circumstances reunite the characters in Provincetown, and their relationships, in all their complexity, come full circle to bring about a tender and moving resolution.
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