here's my blurb from the latest edition of image update:
the maytrees by annie dillard
Reading Annie Dillard’s second novel, The Maytrees, is like taking a stroll through the dunes of Cape Cod, shoeless and pensive, the sea “a monster with lace hem” beside you, and then happening upon a weathered stone or a gleaming pearl in the sand, nudging it with your foot, and sifting the salty grains through your toes as you unbury the unseen. The Maytrees moves at this same careful pace. Dillard’s practiced eye observes the love of two protagonists, Maytree and Lou, unfolding and refolding it thought by thought, again and again. Although The Maytrees explores themes of grace, aging, and nature, it is best characterized as an unabashed love story: two New Englanders marry and find themselves forever wondering what love is. Dillard, undaunted by the long line of love stories that have scoured the genre of its obvious metaphors, writes like a patient beachcomber bent on discovering her own unique treasure in the sand. With her characteristic sense of humor, Dillard encounters the mystery of love with a handful of surprising and poetic images, from Aztec priests to sinking ships. And her characters explicitly ponder the strange paradox of love, the ridiculous notion that we care “wildly, then deeply, for one person out of billions,” that we bind “ourselves to the fickle, changing, and dying as if they were rock.” But ultimately, as Toby Maytree struggles to realize, “reason never trafficked in a man’s love life,” and it is “only in the face of the other” that we each find home.
some of you may frown at the strange opening to this blurb, but i really like it. it feels like poetry to me, and no matter what you might say, i think it works. i'm still thinking about the rating for this one. somewhere between a 9 and a 12.