For the Time Being
Why do we exist? Where did we come from? How can one person matter? Dillard searches for answers in a powerful array of images. For the Time Being evokes the terrifying grandeur of all that remains troublingly beyond our understanding.
Given that I was in mid-swoon at the time from my first exposure to her work, I couldn't really muster a defense other than of the to-each-his-own sort. Since that time, though, as a non-con ...more
"The sight of a cleaned clay soldier upright in a museum case is unremarkable, and this is all that future generations will see. No one will display those men crushed beyond repair; no one will display their lose parts; no one will display them crawling from the walls. Future generations will miss the crucial sight of ourselves as rammed earth."
"Standing again, rubbing my fingers together, I found more stone stairways, more levels, and the s ...more
• Birth (especially horrifi ...more
That said, there are good bits, lovely bits. Much of the natural description, and the spiritual meditations, and most of the historical quota ...more
Is it not late? A late time to be living? Are not our generations the crucial ones? For we have changed the world. Are not our heightened times the important ones? For we have nuclear bombs. Are we not especially significant because our century is? - our century and its unique Holoca ...more
The first Chinese emperor, Emperor Qin, ...more
Human nature ties disparate data points together, be they events or quotes or numbers or any litany of other things. We create connection, a relation, order in chaos; this is the way of the human brain. In other words? This book may be more human than me.
[4 stars for a sky full of strings and the simplici ...more
Such 'true dat' reflections from Anne Dillard endeared me to this book. Filled with short paragraphs on birth, death, God, good, and evil, I became somewhat addicted to each page. If we could break our book collections into wine comparisons, this volume would land in the Chianti section...medium-bodied with high acidity.
This is where they wash the newborns like dishes.
Lest one think Dillard just rambles on like a Zeppelin song, she ...more
This is a book made up of fragments of history and philosophy, random facts about sand and clouds, and fractured narratives. But it is more than that, too, as Annie Dillard takes these broken elements and tries to weave them together. (You could think of it as a literary version of the Tibetan sand mandala).
She takes on a bevy of big topics: life and death, permanence and eternity, individuality in the midst of billions, and whether God is responsible for calamity. There are no easy answers to t
Dillard: There were no formerly heroic times, and there was no formerly pure generation. There is no one here but us chickens, and so it has always been: a people busy and powerful, knowledgeable, ambivalent, important, fearful, and self- ...more
These ar ...more
This is the classic ...more
From the very beginning of the book one can already feel the curiosity of Dillard leakin ...more
The Jesuit priest-philosopher-paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wanders about the narrative, not quite brushing shoulders with, among others, the Rabbi Baal Shem Tov, Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang' ...more
By exploring her feelings and ruminations about such disparate concepts as clouds, evil, sand, birth, love, geological epochs, and religion through the media of differing viewpoints, pub ...more
I remember some lovely imagery. The story of the Chinese army particularly sticks out in my mind after all these years, but that's about all I remember except that I was generally quite bored by it otherwise.