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Book Review 

by SHIRA RICHMAN & r & The Maytrees

by Annie Dillard

& lt;span class= "dropcap " & S & lt;/span & ome prefer writing in which they can lose track of real life and immerse themselves in the world of the book. This is not what will happen while reading Annie Dillard's work. You get hours of time with her despite the claim she makes on her Website: "Now I can no longer travel, can't meet with strangers, can't sign books but will sign labels with SASE, can't write by request, and can't answer letters. I've got to read and concentrate. Why? Beats me." But you won't feel like a stranger while reading her latest novel, The Maytrees. You will be so close to her you will almost smell the colorific blonde hair that adorns her jacket photo, feel the salty Cape Cod breeze that must have blown her short locks helter-skelter against her scalp.

Dillard's prose is often exquisite and almost always surprising. When describing the coupling of Toby and Lou Maytree, Dillard writes, "After they were married [Lou] learned to feel their skin as double-sided. They felt a pause. Theirs was too much feeling to push through the crack that led down to the dim world of time and stuff." The last sentence of this passage feels messy -- which is precisely why it works so well. Describing something as ineffable as love, after all, requires a little bumbling. Dillard doesn't refine her silk and spin it into ostentatious garments. She arranges it raw, in ways you've never seen before. She finishes the paragraph in a playful voice: "Love so sprang at her, she honestly thought no one had ever looked into it. Where was it in literature? Someone must have written something. She must not have recognized it. Time to read everything again."

The Maytrees is another story about adultery, but not just another story about adultery. This tale will spin you with the tricks and turns of Dillard's neural pathways. This story uses human life as metaphor for scientific systems. In your time with Dillard, you will discover that she is not one of those gardener-writer types you run into at bookstores. Dillard will grow your mind.

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