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 Petie appears, their innocent Bohemian friend Deary helps care for him. But years later it is Deary who causes the town to talk. 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.
Born 1945 as Annie Doak, in Pittsburgh, Pa., Dillard has lived in Bellingham, Wash. and the San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest. She received a B.A and an M.A. in English (1968) from Hollins College. She has been adjunct professor of English and Writer in Residence at Wesleyan University and a columnist for the Wilderness Society. Her involvement with nature is reflected in many of her works including Mornings Like This, The Living, Teaching a Stone to Talk, and the 1975 Pulitzer Prize winning Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Her work also has appeared in such periodicals as The Atlantic, Harper's, and The Christian Science Monitor. She has received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.