“The Maytrees”July 29, 2008 at 9:12 pm | Posted in Fiction | 3 Comments
It turns out I’m only two degrees of separation away from Annie Dillard, which I find terribly exciting. I used to date a fellow who took a class from her at Wesleyan. This came up because I was raving away about Teaching a Stone to Talk, still one of my favorite books.
The Maytrees are a couple who get married and have one child. I point this out right away, because the title makes this sound like one of those multi-generational family epics that I tend to shy away from. If I’m gonna read one, it had better be translated from the Spanish, and in that case I’m only making an exception for One Hundred Years of Solitude. I prefer not to have to draw out a diagram in order to remember which character I’m following from one chapter to the next. The slender spine should also help remove any impression of vast, sweeping saga.
Lyrical and carefully considered, this is an amazing, nontraditional, thoroughly unpredictable love story. It could only have been written by a mature writer at the height of her powers. Reading The Maytrees is a spiritual lesson. You’ll want to rush straight through to find out how the story ends, but you’ll find yourself reading it in little sips.
A no-holds-barred five stars.