The Maytrees The Maytrees discussion


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too pretentious for herself

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message 1: by Jess (new)

Jess i really like good literature
i swear i do
but this novel is full of so much flowery crap you could vomit
and it doesn't move
it kind of just sits there
like a lump
annie, you disappointed me


Skylar Burris This poem (is it a poem?) gave me a laugh, right down to the pretentious use of the lower case i.


Susan I couldn't agree with you more - I listened to it so I could multitask but the prose yucko. In the end all I could think of was - is she writing a nature book, a book on love, or one of Maytrees long poems.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I definitly think she was writing one of Maytree's long poems. A poet gave me this book and said Annie Dillard cut the book from 600 pages to 300. Yikes!


Kelly i'm reading it right now and am about halfway through, but i love it! i'm surprised to be the only one. i think it's really well written, but it did surprise me when he left because the beginning seems his opinion as much as hers and i was convinced that he loved her.


Shani I agree that this book is one of Maytrees poems, but really, even a poem would have more of a plot line. I was disappointed in this book having loved An American Childhood. I think she should stick to those types of stories (short and personal!).


Kelly i've changed my mind about this book. from about the halfway point it was all downhill.


Elaine Well, I disagree with you all. You want a plot, read DaVinci Code with its short, uninspired sentences and far-fetched so called historical fact. The characters in The Maytrees are vividly crafted in prose, all individuals in their uniqueness, her metaphors are memorable, and the prose flows. It is far from Maytrees poetry, which she is making fun of, and, of course, she shows his true colors when he becomes a money seeking builder, something he'd never have done with his wife who was the true poet.


message 9: by Chuckell (new)

Chuckell I accidentally left my copy of The Living on a bartop one night. I was about halfway through the book. I realized that I'd left it behind just as I got to the door--about 20 feet away. I decided it wasn't worth the hassle to go back. The bar was not, I should emphasize, at all crowded. I've never thought it would be smart to try to read Dillard ever since.


Carolyn There were many parts of this books I liked, many that made me feel ignorant and uneducated. I live on the West Coast, and I was completely oblivious to her references to coastal life on Cape Cod -- I really had no clue what a lot of this meant, and it would have taken me three weeks to read this book if I looked up every word I didn't know (and I deal with words for a living). One bone to pick: too many descriptions of clouds! In every important scene in the book, someone looked in the sky and saw a certain type of cloud that obviously must have portended something to someone, but not me. (For that matter, one would do well to bone up on astronomy as well as meteorology before reading this book.) That said, I enjoyed this book and there some parts I'll never forget. This is a deep, dark rich chocolate truffle of a book. A little bite goes a long way.


Elaine I am from southern New England, and clouds are a big deal here. The skies have all kinds of clouds, coinciding with very different feel of each day and night. The light here is also very changeable along with the skies. There are days in August when the sky is white, other days are vivid blue, deep blue, others pale blue with streaky clouds. The light in the Fall is so vivid with the deep blue cloudless skies that the colors of the changing leaves are almost iridescent, but on a gray day, with wispy clouds it's quite different. It didn't occur to me as I read it that this would not evoke the feelings it evoked to me to a West Coaster. I do recall living in Los Angeles as a child when the skies were always blue -- no smog, and noting the lack of variety of weather, which is a real big deal in New England. We have a lot of weather. So saying, you can tell how involved the characters are with the weather and how it affects their moods and feelings, and governs their lives. Does that help your understanding of the book? Oh, I don't know the constellations myself or what start is what. When I lived in rural Rhode Island for 25 years, the skies were black at night with billions of brilliant stars studding the sky, but we moved into the city 13 years ago, and here the light pollution doesn't allow us to see any stars at all. I relly feel deprived of that beauty especially in the winter when, the sky being closer, the stars in the country seemed to twinkle even darker and were even more mesmerizing.




Carolyn Elaine --

Thanks for your insight about the clouds. I really had the feeling that as much as I enjoyed this book, New Englanders would appreciate it so much more. My husband often says of Indiana, where he spent his early childhood, that they had much more "weather" than we have out here on the West Coast.


Shelley It's a carefully crafted book and I enjoyed some of it, but found the characters to be almost so metaphorical, that they were impossible to penetrate. The emotional territory was a map drawn across the surfaces of the character's lives, as opposed to being some rich, inner terrain. Maybe that was the intention--to keep the reader at a distance. (?)


LindaJ^ I think Annie Dillard, like dry wine, is an acquired taste and gets better with time. The Maytrees is not the Dillard book one should first pick to read. Her writing is like a good after dinner drink -- to be sipped not chugged.


Julie I loved this book. I like how it made me feel. I could smell, feel and taste the sea.


Elizabeth Loved this book and the bringing everything around to full circle.


Stephanie I like this book now. I did not like it when I read it: so many seemingly needlessly arcane words and the self-abnegating female character. But, now that I have had some time away from it and have also started to study Buddhism, I like this novel because see it as a moving meditation on love and death and nature.


Elizabeth Kelly wrote: "i'm reading it right now and am about halfway through, but i love it! i'm surprised to be the only one. i think it's really well written, but it did surprise me when he left because the beginning s..."

love this book all about staying friends in a beautiful place


Elizabeth Loved the Maytrees takes place in a real place which if you know it is an incredible area…great book on friendship and wiring thru it all…I love Annie Dillard.


message 20: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim Stuller I skimmed these comments. Any talk of his deserting his son? I also am curious: Annie, open marriage that does work?


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