Rarely do I read a book that conjures images as vividly and imaginatively as those that Annie Dillard conjures in The Maytrees. A love story, the book charts the love of a couple living in Provincetown on the Eastern Coast of the United States: they give birth to a child, they rift, but where does love go? What happens to love? Does it vanish? remain? transform? Can you love more than one person at a time? What of children?
I consistently read passages of The Maytrees out to my wife, astounded by Dillard's ability to characterize moments and sensations perfectly, for example, "They shook hands and hers felt hot under sand like a sugar donut," (7) or "Lou saw the sun spread like a gull for its landing on the sea." (105) Both are beautiful comparisons and evoke the exact image, the exact sensation to make me, as a reader, feel and see what the author makes the characters feel and see in these moments.
The Maytrees is stately, it carried me on the ebbs and flows of its prose as it would a piece of driftwood, and I had to give in to the rhythms of it, let it speak to me slowly, occasionally overwhelmed, occasionally feeling as though I sat atop a wave and was glimpsing an horizon beyond the book. Ok, I'm over-writing now, but I simply wanted to say I thought the book beautiful, poignant, poetic. It will not suit everyone, not that much 'happens'. Much is shown for us to interpret and relay, but I believe that if you appreciate Dillard's writing style, I have but read The Writing Life
, The Maytrees will reward you with equally good steadily unfurling beauty and truth about love.