Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Grown up Love Story

Annie Dillard's novel, The Maytrees, is set, mostly in Provincetown, Mass., i.e. Cape Cod. I am not comfortable with her writing style; it seems to meander like a person in relating a tale while taking a long walk who may or may not get around to finally telling you the story she started with. However, I began reading this because of the locale. During the first half, which describes Provincetown circa 1950, I think, and the main characters as gentle, arty hippies who have plenty of New England restraint. Slowly a love story evolves, finally there is a wedding and a child and peaceful years and then the husband leaves with a mutual friend who turns out to be quite different than she seemed in her hippyish days. I wasn't sure I believed much of what I was reading but it read gently and smoothly like that walk on the beach with the story teller.

Time passes and illness happens and the "runaways" return under dire circumstances. The final third of the book is a lovely, if somewhat unlikely, story of reconciliation and acceptance of life's difficulties and of death, finally. I have never read anything in either fiction or nonfiction that handles the end of life so satisfyingly. There was a Yankee practicality and restraint in this part of the story that I admired very much. Reading the first part of the book was worth the satisfaction I felt at the end. I put the picture above of the seashells, broken, but subtly colored because they seem to be appropriate for this story.

1 comment :

case2437 said...

Thank you for the account of this book which I will look for next time I am at the library. I appreciate you giving me a good account of it and not sugar coating it like some reviewers do just for sales. I like Cape Cod books the best.
Kathy in NY