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The Maytrees

Narrated by: David Rasche
Length: 5 hrs and 46 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
3.5 out of 5 stars (76 ratings)

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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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not what I expected

I waited too long to review the book

I loved Pilgrim at Tinker Creek that I decided to read another by Dillard immediately. I confess I knew nothing about this book and thought it might have to do with trees. Surprise, it has to do with a family called the Maytrees!

The book was well written and narrated well, and set in an area I have visited, but I just never got to like or become involved with the characters in the novel.
#CapeCod #family saga #relationships #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Love, boredom and freedom

An interesting novel that seems to coax the reader to look at love from the perspectives of cynics, purists and the non-chalant. A 'don't fence me in' mentality with strong undertones of loving unconditionally, this is a story of friendship that never really finishes or starts but rather jumps in and out of timeframes.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Lovely

Lovely, melodic, beautiful story of life, love, and peaceful existence as the world continues on its way.