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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