The Maytrees: A Novel (Paperback)

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“At long last, Dillard is at it again. Known for her gift of braiding ribbons of darkness to frame great light, and tragedy and death to reveal the marvel of life, now she's turned her scope on love, marriage, betrayal, and forgiveness. Slow down your life. Savor every word.”
— Pepper Parker, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA


“Brilliant. . . . A shimmering meditation on the ebb and flow of love.”  —New York Times

“In her elegant, sophisticated prose, Dillard tells a tale of intimacy, loss and extraordinary friendship and maturity against a background of nature in its glorious color and caprice. The Maytrees is an intelligent, exquisite novel.” — The Washington Times

Toby Maytree first sees Lou Bigelow on her bicycle in postwar Provincetown, Massachusetts. Her laughter and loveliness catch his breath. Maytree is a Provincetown native, an educated poet of thirty. As he courts Lou, just out of college, her stillness draws him. Hands-off, he hides his serious wooing, and idly shows her his poems.

In spare, elegant prose, Dillard traces the Maytrees' decades of loving and longing. They live cheaply among the nonconformist artists and writers that the bare tip of Cape Cod attracts. When their son Petie appears, their innocent Bohemian friend Deary helps care for him. But years later it is Deary who causes the town to talk.

In this moving novel, Dillard intimately depicts willed bonds of loyalty, friendship, and abiding love. She presents nature's vastness and nearness. Warm and hopeful, The Maytrees is the surprising capstone of Dillard's original body of work.

About the Author

Annie Dillard has written twelve books,including in nonfiction For the Time Being, Teaching a Stone to Talk, Holy the Firm, and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Praise For…

“Dillard calls on her erudition as a naturalist and her grace as a poet to create an enthralling story of marriage—particular and universal, larky and monumental.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A superbly written novel. . . . The compact, elliptical narrative will continue to pervade the reader’s consciousness long after the novel ends.”
— Kirkus (starred review)

“A rhapsodic novel of our times. . . . In this mythic and transfixing tale, Dillard wryly questions notions of love, exalts in life’s metamorphoses, and celebrates goodness. She casts a spell sensuous and metaphysical.”
— Booklist (starred review)

“Dillard, a naturalist at heart, poignantly tracks the relationships between Lou and Toby Maytree across 50 years.”
— More Magazine

— The Miami Herald

“In The Maytrees, Dillard creates a beautiful sense of stillness as she details the unencumbered lives of Toby and Lou.”
— The Christian Science Monitor

“Dillard has written an elegant metaphor strewn and at the same time beach-funky, philosophically minded, ocean-side love story set on Cape Cod, between the dunes and the star-splashed sky above.”
— NPR's All Things Considered

“Dillard’s erudition and her tendency to pose large philosophical and moral questions are in evidence here as in her other works. . . . The Maytrees is a fine book, both in depth of insight and freshness of language . . . by one of our finest contemporary authors.”
— The Roanoke Times

“Each paragraph of Dillard’s novel is a thing of beauty, meticulously crafted and vivid, whether expressing the loveliness of a seascape or a man’s inner turmoil.”
— Entertainment Weekly

“A gorgeous meditation on one couple’s slog through marriage, separation and reconciliation.”
— The Washington Post

“The Maytrees is a soulful exploration of love and marriage that has the hot, sunburned sting of a seaside summer afternoon. . . . Dillard evokes the rich landscape and characters of Cape Cod—its eccentric clam diggers and poets posing as roofers—while centering her story around one family’s moving tragedy.”
— People

“Dillard has all she needs in terms of imagination, and she is handy with the witty rejoinders.”
— The Chicago Tribune

“Lyrically enthralling. . . . Dillard tells an engaging, subtle tale.”
— The Seattle Times

“Dillard’s writing can be as fine as the constellations in a clear night sky.”
— The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“A meditation on love and forgiveness.”
— The Wall Street Journal

“Dillard’s poetic descriptions seem to grow up out of the sand and seafoam, and the images she puts into your mind, playfully rendered and wonderfully precise, are spellbinding. Ultimately, this is a story of great tenderness.”
— The Arizona Republic

“Brilliant. . . . A shimmering meditation on the ebb and flow of love. . . . The author also weaves recurring images and themes through the narrative with supreme grace. . . . As in all of Ms. Dillard’s writing, transcendent moments abound. ”
— The New York Times

“A reservoir of oceanic language, thrilling and sophisticated assumptions of reader intelligence and elegantly lean descriptive detail. . . . Dillard knows how to create Eden on the page . . . exquisite.”
— Los Angeles Book Review

“A spare and subtle novel. . . . Like Thoreau, Dillard takes us to that place of rugged independence, that struggle of making a living without forfeiting the mind.”
— The Chicago Sun-Times

“Intelligent and poetic. . . . Dillard’s prose is rich, as is her dive into the too-often-shallow waters of love and deception. . . . The Maytrees will not disappoint.”
— The Rocky Mountain News

“Breathtakingly illuminative. . . . Beautifully told. . . . Dillard has accomplished the reader’s payoff she so relentlessly detailed almost 20 years ago in The Writing Life. She too has pressed upon us ‘the deepest mysteries.’”
— The New York Times Book Review

“Bracingly intelligent, lovely, and humane. . . . Dazzling. . . . The Maytrees is a love story of an unusually adult and contemporary kind.”
— Margot Livesey, The Boston Globe
Product Details
ISBN: 9780061239540
ISBN-10: 0061239542
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: June 10th, 2008
Pages: 240
Language: English

How to read more
( Birmingham Museums Trust’s Digital Image Resource shares thousands of images that span decades of Birminghams vibrant past)

How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.


And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.


15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.


50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.


Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.


Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.


Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.



Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.


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