the person underneath

Well I’m going to momentarily halt my attempt to reduce the number of books in my to-be-read piles and reread The Maytrees.

Because I want to, she sings from the rooftops.

In the comments to my first post on the novel, I admitted that when I began reading it, I wasn’t sure I liked it, that the tone seemed brusque and clipped, almost as if the book were a person who wanted to keep to herself.

The more I read, though, the more the tone seemed to soften, and I discovered I liked the person underneath.

Often when I suspect I don’t like a book, I read quickly–to get it over with. Now I’m going to reread The Maytrees so I can enjoy each word.

At the very end of my edition of Annie Dillard’s The Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, a nonfiction narrative published in 1974, she writes an Afterward, written in 1999, and then a More Years Afterward, written in 2007. In the latter, she describes the style of The Maytrees as one of spareness–“short sentences, few modifiers.” She also writes:

“The Maytrees are a woman and a man both simplified and enlarged…The Maytrees’ human tale needs only the telling. Writers’ styles often end pruned down. (I knew this happened; I did not know I was already that old.)”

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5 thoughts on “the person underneath

  1. Wow, now that is true love! I definitely reference books I’ve read while I’m writing, but I don’t reread with so much new stuff out there. I sometimes feel guilty reading more books by the same author when there are good new authors I have yet to read.


    • Well, I definitely feel guilty. You should see my stacks! But there was something about this decision that went almost to the essence of reading. I mean, I read as much as I do now because I love to read. And I love to read because of the books I read. And I wanted to read this book again.

      I’m not explaining this very well. That is one of the reasons I write–to figure things out. So I’ll just keep using words until I get it.


  2. Pingback: it’s been another year | catching days

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