• Recommendation: “The Maytrees”

    June 18, 2009

    maytreesIf you’re looking for summer reading that isn’t too heavy but isn’t total fluff either, Annie Dillard’s The Maytrees may be for you. I just finished my second trip through and enjoyed it as much as–maybe more than–the first.

    The Maytrees is a simple story that asks a simple yet profound question. Dillard’s novel follows the lives of Toby Maytree and Lou Bigelow over several decades as events force them to ask themselves, What is love? (Don’t worry guys–this is no breezy, sentimental romance. The book is tough, honest, and gritty.)

    The Maytrees is short–just 216 pages, with plenty of whitespace–but it’s packed with meaning. No word is wasted. Every sentence counts. Every line reveals something important about these characters and their story. In a 2007 interview with NPR, Dillard said of her spare prose style, “The idea was to eliminate every single unnecessary word.”

    And Annie Dillard is a genius at description. Of Lou and Toby’s first encounter on Cape Cod, Dillard writes, “They shook hands and hers felt hot under sand like a sugar doughnut.” About the setting, she says, “…The ocean lashed and threw salts.” Simple. Clear. Imaginative. Perfect.

     

    Click here for the NPR interview, and here for the Amazon link to The Maytrees.

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