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The Maytrees | [Annie Dillard]

The Maytrees

Toby Maytree first sees Lou Bigelow on her bicycle in postwar Provincetown, Massachusetts. Her laughter and loveliness catch his breath. Maytree is a Provincetown native, an educated poet of thirty. As he courts Lou, just out of college, her stillness draws him. In spare, elegant prose, Dillard traces the Maytrees' decades of loving and longing as they live cheaply among the nonconformist artists and writers that the bare tip of Cape Cod attracts.
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Publisher's Summary

Toby Maytree first sees Lou Bigelow on her bicycle in postwar Provincetown, Massachusetts. Her laughter and loveliness catch his breath. Maytree is a Provincetown native, an educated poet of thirty. As he courts Lou, just out of college, her stillness draws him. At first he hides his serious wooing, and idly shows her his poems.

In spare, elegant prose, Dillard traces the Maytrees' decades of loving and longing. They live cheaply among the nonconformist artists and writers that the bare tip of Cape Cod attracts. Lou takes up painting, and when their son, Pete, arrives, their innocent Bohemian friend Deary helps care for him. These people are all loving and ironic. Theirs is a simple and bold story.

In this moving novel, Dillard intimately depicts nature's vastness and nearness while presenting willed bonds of loyalty, friendship, and abiding love.

©2007 Annie Dillard; (P)2007 HarperCollins Publishers

What the Critics Say

"Dillard calls on her erudition as a naturalist and her grace as a poet to create an enthralling story of marriage - particular and universal, larky and monumental." (Publishers Weekly)
"As she casts a spell sensuous and metaphysical, Dillard covertly bids us to emulate may trees - the resilient hawthorn - the tree of joy, of spring, of the heart." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (42 )
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3.4 (12 )
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3.9 (12 )
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  •  
    Diane Valentine Middletown, CT United States 06-29-07
    Diane Valentine Middletown, CT United States 06-29-07 Member Since 2005

    In every book, there is a little vacation'

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too formal for an intimate connection"

    This book is beautifully crafted, but I always felt 'at arms length' from the Maytrees. Annie Dillard writes like a poet, but it's hard to 'feel' her characters from the inside out.' As I read this book, it felt as though I was hearing the story as a conversation between two other people. I like to be immersed in a character's feelings and to feel I'm present with them in that moment. If you feel the same, read 'On beauty', by Zadie Smith.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LJ Web CA USA 06-29-08
    LJ Web CA USA 06-29-08 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "prose so spare it gives us only the bones"

    No flesh and blood, sadly, because there is a lot that's deep here, on life & death, love, forgiveness, friendship. Annie Dillard is brilliant when she's writing about Nature, and indeed, the passages that come alive in this novel are the ones about the beach, the ocean, and the stars. For these, I would give her a 5-star rating, but averaging over the whole book, it goes down to 3, because she writes of her human characters as if from far, far away, and through a veil. None ever came alive for me, though I wanted them to.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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