ranters and ravers

Annie Dillard Asks the Big Questions in a Small Novel

Courtesy of HarperCollins

A new Annie Dillard novel is a bona fide literary event. A prolific writer of essays — her meditation on nature, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction — Dillard just published her second novel, and first in over a decade, The Maytrees. A slim, poignant tale of a marriage on the rocks in Provincetown, it’s been receiving the sorts of praise normally reserved for the fiction gods. Such versatility is rare: Only Norman Mailer has won Pulitzers for general nonfiction and fiction. So far.

Rave: “No less than her nonfiction, The Maytrees grapples — beautifully — with the question, ‘What was it, exactly — or even roughly — that we people are meant to do here? Or, how best use one’s short time?’ Reading this gorgeous novel is one suggestion.” —Heller McAlpin, San Francisco Chronicle

Rant: “The tides can go still when Dillard offers another head-scratcher of a metaphor or an ellipsis as abrupt as a brick wall.” —Richard Wakefield, Seattle Times
—Marc Tracy

Annie Dillard Asks the Big Questions in a Small Novel