Janet's Reviews > Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters

Teaching a Stone to Talk by Annie Dillard
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's review
Nov 11, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: essay-general-nonfic, memoir-bio, writing
Read in December, 2009

It's only appropriate that my favorite in these essays of expeditions and encounters by another of my beloved writers (raised in Pittsburgh as was I), "Total Eclipse," takes place in the Yakima valley of Washington, where Raymond Carver spent his early years. In this essay, Dillard magnificently details the adventure she and her husband had travelling from their home on the coast to watch the mystery of one celestial object move into the shadow of another. Afterward, over breakfast in a roadside restaurant, when their altered view of the world has passed, she observes that the mind can never be satisfied. It "wants to live forever, or to learn a good reason why not. The mind wants the world to return its love, or its awareness; the mind wants to know all the world, and all eternity." The mind's sidekick, however, the body, will "settle for two eggs over easy" The whole book contains her alluring and simple explorations of natural facts and the human meanings we assign to them.

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