Annie Dillard's books are like comets, like celestial events that remind us that the reality we inhabit is itself a celestial event, the business of eons and galaxies, however persistently we mistake its local manifestations for mere dust, mere sea, mere self, mere thought. The beauty and obsession of her work are always the integration of being, at the grandest scales of our knowledge of it, with the intimate and momentary sense of life lived.My copy actually arrived on Saturday (!), and my friend (visiting from Jamaica) was able to read it before she left. I am starting it today, but don't want it to be over. I own every book she's written. They've been read and reread and then reread some more... When I've reached the last page, I'll turn back to the first and begin again. (This is my consolation.)
The Maytrees is about wonder -- in the terms of this novel, life's one truth. It is wonder indeed that is invoked here, vast and elusive and inexhaustible and intimate and timeless. There is a resolute this-worldliness that startles the reader again and again with recognition. How much we overlook! What a world this is, after all, and how profound on its own terms.
According to New York Magazine, Annie Dillard's done with writing. The statement is basically the same as what's up on her website, but I did smile at this last touch:
She did mention one, possibly tongue-in-cheek idea for further work: “To take all my never-used metaphors and just throw them up in the air for other writers to use.” Grab Bag, by Annie Dillard? “I like the title Free-for-All,” she says.I'm all for her getting away from the hoopla surrounding book releases to sequester herself with her reading. And given that her works are indeed "celestial events," who knows when the next one will shoot across our sky?
(both links via Ed)