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Pilgrim at Tinker Creek [Paperback]

Annie Dillard
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

29 April 2011
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is a book that has continued to change people s lives for over thirty years. A passionate and poetic reflection on the mystery of creation with its beauty on the one hand and cruelty on the other, it has become a modern American literary classic in the tradition of Thoreau. Living in solitude in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Roanoke, Virginia, and observing the changing seasons, the flora and fauna, she reflects on the nature of creation and of the God who set it in motion. Whether the images are cruel or lovely, the language is memorably beautiful and poetic, and insistently celebratory. Just pay attention, Dillard urges throughout, and you will find yourself sailing headlong and breathless under the gale force of the spirit .

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Pilgrim at Tinker Creek + The Writing Life + Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Canterbury Press Norwich (29 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848250789
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848250789
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13.3 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Dillard's prose throughout is indeed spirited and gale-force --The Guardian

About the Author

Annie Dillard is acclaimed as a major voice in American literature. A novelist and poet, her greatest recognition is as a nonfiction writer. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1975.

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First Sentence
I USED TO HAVE a cat, an old fighting tom, who would jump through the open window by my bed in the middle of the night and land on my chest. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars up close and personal 5 Aug 2011
Annie Dillard's thoughtful and meditative book is of course a renowned classic of nature writing, but as this new edition has not yet received a review I thought I would have a go. What makes this book stand apart from much nature writing is its sense of intimacy. For much of the book she focuses on the small things of life and examines them with a clear-eyed and unflinching gaze. I first read this book when I was about 14 or 15, and its sense of trying to search for some kind of meaning in the world around us resonated strongly with me at that age. As children we are fully open to the small mysteries of life, to the comings and goings of the bugs and the wild flowers, but as we get older our focus changes, and we become more preoccupied with the bigger picture. Dillard retains that sense of childlike wonder at the world, and reminds us of what we have lost.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What all nature writing is trying to be 20 July 1999
By A Customer
Annie Dillard is more alive than anyone I have ever known including myself. Her words are captivating as they create images of a natural world that pulses with spirituality even in its moments of raw cruelty. She does not pontificate about nature, admitting that she is only writing as an observer. Nonetheless, her writing is wise, reminding us that events as simple as changes in the light or the unexpected sight of a muskrat for a second is like a gift from the universe. For the first time in my life, a warm fuzzy feeling of wonder and gratitude for simple existence filled me when I read this book. And I know I will feel it again every time I open Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. As a wannabe environmentalist who has read as much nature writing as I have been able to get my hands on in my 16 years, I would place Annie Dillard right up there with Rachel Carson at the top of my list.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Path to Return to... 12 Jun 2003
Annie Dillard is a master of image and metaphor, mixing nature, philosophy, science and drama into essays that at times make me hold my breath in wonder. I return to her books again and again, reading bits to friends, teaching essays to students. She is not "easy" but the immersion is well worth it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dillard's images smell of nature. 5 Jan 1999
By A Customer
Dillard's polyphony of images creates a roundness and depth unfathomed by most modern nature writers. Overlapping images brings breath to observation. Her's are not images of nature upon the dissection table, but nature alive and exuding itself. Her observations pierce the bone and marrow of nature revealing the transcendence and sacrament that is man's experience with nature. Her writings give off the scent of true experience, true life and true thought. Dillard is quite possibly the premiere essayist of our period.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I read this book while a fundamentalist Christian in seminary studying for the ministy. It literally changed the direction of my life. It was the language that at first seduced me; not a page is wasted, not a word out of place, not a throw-away metaphor. It sings with a beauty and sense of utter awe that I have never witnessed in another writer. Dillard taught me to trust my own inner voice, to see the world with eyes that were fully open. It started me on a long path that continues to this day, thinking for myself, observing and embracing the small everyday currents that resonate so deep with my spirit. Annie is a kindred soul, a witness to the utter mystery and joy of a life lived with eyes and heart attuned to the vibrant exuberance of the spirit. I have given hardback copies of Pilgrim to many fellow pilgrims and have made rereading it a yearly spiritual service. This is must reading for all serious seekers after beauty, truth, and a spiritual path that does not deny the mysteries of life. Annie is a fellow pilgrim who does not fail to ask the difficult questions, the felicity and power of her prose sings with an authenticity that is impossible to deny. This is one of the most important books of the later 20th century and I recommend this book to all seekers after beauty and spiritual refreshment.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I keep coming back to this book... 12 July 1999
By A Customer
I first read Pilgrim at Tinker Creek as an undergraduate at Southwest Missouri State University, in an exposition class. I loved it then and I love it now. I am currently taking a graduate seminar on approaches to teaching literature and have been given the opportunity to design my "dream course." Annie Dillard's Pulitzer Prize-winning literary journey is at the top of my list. I am disappointed to read the few comments from readers who didn't enjoy this book--I suspect they have not taken the time to fully explore Dillard's vision. The work is rich with details that are not just there for the sake of description. It is a carefully crafted prose narrative that delves into theology, existentialism, transcendentalism, and natural history, addressing the relationship between man and God. I would recommend reading Linda L. Smith's book, entitled Annie Dillard (one of Twayne's United States Authors series), for an enlightening analysis of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and other works by the author. If you are willing to open your eyes and mind wide enough, you will surely discover Pilgrim at Tinker Creek's treasures.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My theme book... 1 April 1999
By A Customer
This book has become a comfort book for me, espcially since I'm originally from southwest VA, where Dillard wrote Pilgrim. I'm in NY at school now and reading it is cathartic in a way...it takes me home.
But over and above that, it's a meditation on the Divine and on Nature and how the two relate that still resonates deeply with me. I have yet to find "the tree with the lights in it," which constitutes a large part of her discussion of Seeing. But the book itself is like a tree with the lights in it, at times. The lights of Divine inspiration.
Read this book slowly and let it bring the broken parts of you back together...you won't regret it.
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