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Extended Audio Sample The Maytrees, by Annie Dillard Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,042 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Annie Dillard Narrator: David Rasche Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Toby Maytree first sees Lou Bigelow on her bicycle in postwar Provincetown, Massachusetts. Her laughter and loveliness catch his breath. Maytree is a Provincetown native, an educated poet of thirty. As he courts Lou, just out of college, her stillness draws him. Hands-off, he hides his serious wooing and idly shows her his poems.

In spare, elegant prose, Dillard traces the Maytrees’ decades of loving and longing. They live cheaply among the nonconformist artists and writers that the bare tip of Cape Cod attracts. Lou takes up painting. When their son Pete appears, their innocent Bohemian friend Deary helps care for him. These people are all loving and ironic, and theirs is a simple and bold story.

In this moving novel, Dillard intimately depicts nature’s vastness and nearness. She presents willed bonds of loyalty, friendship, and abiding love. Warm and hopeful, The Maytrees is the surprising capstone of Annie Dillard’s original body of work.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The novel as a whole is beautiful, and the beauty is never digressive or ornamental…This is where Dillard’s imagination has always lived, in the stark and lyrical awareness of the profundity of the physical world.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “In The Maytrees Dillard remains nominally loyal to those values that make her earlier writings both disturbing and rewarding: patience, the attention to particularity, the emptying of the self, and the submission of the will to necessity.”

    London Review of Books

  • “Dillard calls on her erudition as a naturalist and her grace as a poet to create an enthralling story of marriage—particular and universal, larky and monumental.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “As she casts a spell sensuous and metaphysical, Dillard covertly bids us to emulate may trees—the resilient hawthorn—the tree of joy, of spring, of the heart.”


  • A 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist
  • A 2007 Booklist Editors’ Choice
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2007 Washington Post Book World Best Book of the Year
  • A 2007 Christian Science Monitor Book of the Year
  • One of the 2007 Globe and Mail (Toronto) Best Books
  • One of the 2007 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Laurel | 2/20/2014

    " I feel guilty not liking this book but such a prominent and well-loved author, but it didn't do anything for me, except make me want to walk the dunes of Cape Cod. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Julia | 2/8/2014

    " Some books you love the plot, some the characters, some the writing style. This book had a lovely style. Some parts of it were so rich - I couldn't help but marvel at how they were written. A lovely book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Bridget | 2/4/2014

    " Beautifully written. A new favorite. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Mar | 1/28/2014

    " dillard writes well, which makes the novel slow moving. the vocabulary etc. is high end and adds to the beauty of the writing, but may take away from enjoyment for some who don't have patience. "

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