Throughout her wanderings, Annie Dillard's keen observations, poetic sensibilities, introspective reflections, and reverence for her surroundings show us the world outside as we have never seen it before.
©1974 Annie Dillard; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"The book is a form of meditation, written with headlong urgency, about seeing. A reader's heart must go out to a young writer with a sense of wonder so fearless and unbridled." (Eudora Welty, New York Times Book Review)
This is my favorite audio book of the perhaps 50 I own, and I have listened to it some 30 times or more. I think that Annie Dillard is an extremely gifted writer, and would recommend anything she has written -- at audible.com you can also get her audio book _For the Time Being_ (which of course I recommend as well!). Why do I like Annie Dillard so much -- because she is such a master of seeing, she is the ultimate teacher in the school of nature, she teaches you to take a close look at the natural world, and when you do, your life is changed. The transcendence is always in the details, and she is unmatched in her attention to detail and in her power to artfully describe what she sees. She is also a master of the pithy quote, peppering her writings with truly magical quotations from other writers. Her style tends to be a bit bombastic at times (she is widely criticized for this), but I prefer her lively engagement to the phoney "coolness" of the disengaged. The book is organized around some very basic concepts, such as seeing and fixedness. It is a spectacular achievement. The audio book is read well, though there are occasional mispronunciations of more obscure vocabulary.
A cross between nature writing and theology, this is one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. It was my first purchase on Audible, because I was already familiar with the book and this recording of it.
I can honestly say that "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" changed my life. When I listened to this book a few years ago on a trip to the mountains, I was a reluctant atheist who loved science. Annie Dillard convinced me that love of nature and love of God are not incompatible, and that embracing the problem of evil can actually bring one closer to God.
Interesting facts about nature are intertwined with writings from philosophers, Bible stories, and personal anecdotes to create a compelling memoir. The reader of this version has a pleasant, alto voice. Sound quality is not as high as for many Audible products--the highest version offered is v. 3--but the reader's presentation is clear enough that the lower resolution is hardly noticeable while listening.
Listen to this on a still day outdoors, or at night before you go to sleep. The lovely writing and narration are very relaxing, leading one to a quiet, contemplative mood.
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is my favourite of all Dillard's writings, and I was delighted to find it at Audible. However, the narration is such a disappointment that I had to stop listening after about half an hour. The reader seems to have no sense of the nuances of the author's style. While attempting to sound enthusiastic she maintains a frantic pace which allows the listener no opportunity to reflect upon or savour, even briefly, the richness of Dillard's language or the depth of her thought or sense of humour. This recording is a major disappointment. Annie Dillard deserves better, and it makes me wonder if authors have any control over the audio production of their work.
I am a marketing professional who has written everything you can imagine, trying to become a creative non-fiction writer for my second act. What I couldn't imagine is how Annie Dillard wrote this book. It is jam-packed with observations, metaphor, connections to other great literature. The author's note at the end actually explains how she did it. Brilliant. If you have any inclination about writing non-fiction read, or listen to, this book.
If this is your first Annie Dillard book you will have to give it a chance to grow on you. It's an acquired taste, however I think it's a taste that everyone, absolutely everyone, will acquire if they allow themselves.
The one book I've reread more than any other. I didn't have the trouble with the narrator that others have; Dillard was young when she wrote Pilgrim and perhaps her voice would have been similar--or at least that's what I rationalized. Of course it would be wonderful to have the author record a version. Can we start a Kickstarter?!?
Annie shares her thoughts with us as she explores nature. And what thoughts! She pulls in philosophy, science, religion, poetry, other books into what she???s viewing giving us a deeper appreciation of the vivid descriptions of the critters she loves. You will catch the joy and want more.
I'm all for setting a beautiful scene, and a wonderful command of language to bring you into that scene, but at some point one must get on with things. Unfortunately this never seems to get on with anything, and after a couple hours of descriptions I had to put the thing down. I see that others think it's wonderful, but unfortunately it didn't work for me.
At first I liked the musings on the bugs, birds, animals and so on; the arcane facts. I was expecting more of a spiritual connection, which is there, but rare. Mostly it's a random encyclopedia of observations. The reader is dry--how else could she be with such material?
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