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Publisher's Summary

This personal, philosophical narrative surveys the panorama of our world past and present. Dillard poses questions of natural evil, God, and individual existence. Can one individual really matter? If so, how? Compassionate, enthralling, and always surprising, For the Time Being is the latest work by one of our most original writers - her breadth of knowledge matched by keenness of observation- at her best.

Cover Photograph © 1925 by J.B. Shackleford; Copyright ©1999 by Annie Dillard; Copyright (P)1999 NewStar Media Inc.

Critic Reviews

"This is a book of great richness, beauty, and power." (The New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Dan
  • ST PAUL, MN, USA
  • 02-28-04

Amazing Books, Ignorant Reader

A deeply humorous, and starkly ironic text read by someone with no sense of irony. If you like Annie, you might get a laugh out of this reading, especially when the music swells seriously at Dillards darkest humor. A good listen if you can get over an horrid reader who thinks "this is supposed to be deep serious stuff, I can't laugh".

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Barry
  • VACAVILLE, CA, USA
  • 01-15-03

Perhaps Dillard's Best

This book is a meditation. It begins with an observation, that of fetal monsters. Why do they exist if there is a God? The question leads to more questions. "Why is there something rather than nothing?"

Deeply existential and deeply religious and irreligious, Dillard's thoughts wonder and wander through majors thinkers, and through the centuries of human thought.

In the end we a left with a deep awe for life and the universe, and consciousness. Not to mention, for Annie Dillard's talent.

This book is a treasure of reveries.

Barry Orvell

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Will
  • Edmonton, AB, Canada
  • 10-14-07

sadly awful

This is one of the best books I've ever read, and I've read it four or five times, each time discovering new insight and new mystery in its inter-related sections. So I was delighted to see it on Audible, but sadly, the reader is terrible. All the thoughtful, questioning, spiritual objectivity of this beautiful book is lost in his ponderous intonation. Find us another reader and I'll happily buy the book again.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Reader
  • west coast, USA
  • 01-01-11

Simply amazing

I agree with another reviewer's title "Perhaps Dillard's best." Rarely have I read such fantastic writing; it's almost hard to pick up another book after this. What could compare? The book is multi-themed, philosophic, hard to penetrate at times (but worth the effort) and sublime from start to finish. And in a real show of diversity amongst listeners, I actually thought the narrator did a great job and was perfect for this kind of writing, in contrast to the criticism offered by other reviewers. In the end, like anything else, you have to make your own judgement, but I give this book my very highest recommendation.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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An Enlivening Experience

Austere, yes. Complex, yes. Both grounding and uplifting, too. Seeing the world through Dillard's eyes is a transforming experience. And David Birney is an astonishing narrator who enlivens every image and idea. How fitting for this book and Dillards wide ranging yet interrelated observations and insights--philosophical, theological, and mundane--that he models this way of being in time--enlivening that which he encounters.

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