Elizabeth's Reviews > The Maytrees

The Maytrees by Annie Dillard
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's review
Mar 17, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction

I've been enamored of Annie Dillard since reading Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek. Her body of work is primarily non-fiction, so I grabbed this quickly to see how she would handle fiction.

On one level I was disappointed -- the characters are so eccentric and quirky, and the narrative so sparse and staccato, that I was put off.

Yet her language is so exquisite that I was captivated, and as I reflected back on the story, I found it more interesting.

Annie Dillard must collect words the way some people might collect exquisite specimens of jewels. She crafts her sentences so perfectly that each is a work of art in itself (perhaps to the detriment of the overall story). She uses alliteration better than anyone I've ever read:

"A bluefish boil blackened the water...overhead clouds cracked the last light like crude."

She puts words together in wonderful, memorable ways. Who cares if the plot isn't riveting? She is an amazing language artist. She uses ordinary words in ways you'd never think of, yet her images are startlingly clear and pitch perfect. Fascinating...
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