The Maytrees by Annie Dillard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I became an Annie Dillard fan after reading PILGRIM AT TINKER CREEK several years ago. I figure Annie Dillard must be a wonderful writer if she can make me interested in the eating patterns of dragonfly larvae. THE MAYTREES is one of her fictional works. The only other piece of fiction I've read by Ms. Dillard is her historical novel THE LIVING.
THE MAYTREES is centered around its characters and, perhaps almost equally, its setting. The words are beautiful. I'm not smart enough to make sense of them all, but sometimes when reading literary fiction I find I have to step back, ignore the meaning of the words and let them impress me with feelings instead. That's the only way to keep my head above water. But overall, I came away knowing these characters--Maytree, Lou, Deary, and even Reevadare--very well. I won't soon forget them. They almost feel like old--though slightly insane, perhaps--friends. Maytree, especially, was such a well-rounded character. He makes horrible mistakes, but you forgive him just as Lou does. You don't have a choice. You must like the man.
Good book. I'd recommend it if you enjoy literary fiction. If you need tightly-paced plotting to finish a book, however, don't pick it up.
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