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Publisher's Summary

In this classic of literary nonfiction, Annie Dillard takes us through a year of on-foot explorations through her own landscape, bringing anecdotes, curiosities, and insights about all she observes and experiences. In the summer, she stalks muskrats in the creek and thinks about wave mechanics; in the fall, she watches a monarch butterfly migration and dreams of Arctic caribou. She tries to con a coot, unties a snakeskin, witnesses a flood, and plays "King of the Meadow" with a field of grasshoppers.

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.

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rand
  • fitchburg, WI, United States
  • 08-21-03

pilgrim at tinker creek

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.

30 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rachel
  • Baldwin City, KS, USA
  • 08-10-05

closer to God

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.

23 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Carolyn
  • Salt Lake City, UT, United States
  • 02-05-13

How can one person know and think this much?

Any additional comments?

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Terrible narration of a terrific book

What did you like best about Pilgrim at Tinker Creek? What did you like least?

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.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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I have to agree with a couple others...

Any additional comments?

The narrator sucks much of the life out of the story, reading it like she's reading a list of groceries.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Views of a visitor to the natural world.

Every single page of this book contains at least one profoundly beautiful and inspiring passage. It is at once both inspiring and wonderfully enjoyable. You will beg for more of Annie Dillard after you experience this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jeanie
  • Easton, MD United States
  • 07-15-17

Fascinating in every possible way!

Nature keeny observed and thoughtfully interpreted... I love this book. Trees and bugs and muskrats will never look the same again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Brain Dump

I consider this book as Annie Dillard's brain dump of all she'd been reading and thinking. She focuses a lot on death and the shortness of individual life. Much of her writing style is lyrical. She likes listing things. She also likes sharing facts and theories from books she's read. A few things I found interesting but much of the cruelty of nature was not something I particularly wanted to hear. It seemed that her main point was that life is short, so go live it while you can, trying to see the beauty despite the ugliness and death all around. Not a very cheerful book, but if you're searching for metaphysical meaning, this might be for you. The narrator was very clear and understandable. She even gave the book some life. My only complaint was that she sounded a bit arrogant. But really, was it the speaker or the author's words that made me think so?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Buy it

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Pure Enthusiastic Joy

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful