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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. 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 willed bonds of loyalty, friendship, and abiding love. She presents nature's vastness and nearness. Warm and hopeful, The Maytrees is the surprising capstone of Dillard's original body of work.

Published: HarperCollins on Oct 13, 2009
ISBN: 9780061809743
List price: $10.29
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I suspect this is a book that is best appreciated if it's approached not as a novel, really, but as a book-length poem (like the kind the protagonist, Maytree, writes throughout his life). Reading with this kind of attitude allows for a bit more patience, appreciation of Dillard's unique voice (which has a certain music once you get used to it), and freedom from the usual narrative structure of most novels. I admit, I had to go back and read the first chapter twice before I could even move on to the rest of the book. But after a while, I looked forward to sitting down each night and reading a chapter or two before bed, so that by the end, I found myself wishing the book was longer. Luckily, it's the kind of book you can come back to again and again, because there's so much more in it than mere plot.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is an atmospheric love story of Lou Bigelow and Toby Maytree in Provincetown. Their story begins shortly after World War II and moves forward in time. He's a poet and she's a painter. Their orbits merge in a community with loose social boundaries on Cape Cod. After 14 years of marriage and a child, there is a betrayal and 20 year separation. A reunion is brought about by failing health.The writing is more prose than narrative. The landscape of a peninsula in water is thematic in the story. The story challenges the reader to ponder love, solitude, acceptance, and the boundaries that we humans establish for ourselves.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
What is love? This age-old question is probed along with the accompanying themes of shame and grace. Yet this is more than another book about relationships...its a soul-satisfying contemplation of the choices we make in life.And, oh, the writing. I am captivated with Dillard's way with words. It doesn't even matter to me that many of her allusions are beyond my experience. I get completely immersed in her phrasing and wordplay. The setting on Cape Cod with its glimmering sea, sky, and sand dunes is an important part of the book, but this is definitely no beach read! Its a book to revel in and then cherish.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Read all reviews

Reviews

I suspect this is a book that is best appreciated if it's approached not as a novel, really, but as a book-length poem (like the kind the protagonist, Maytree, writes throughout his life). Reading with this kind of attitude allows for a bit more patience, appreciation of Dillard's unique voice (which has a certain music once you get used to it), and freedom from the usual narrative structure of most novels. I admit, I had to go back and read the first chapter twice before I could even move on to the rest of the book. But after a while, I looked forward to sitting down each night and reading a chapter or two before bed, so that by the end, I found myself wishing the book was longer. Luckily, it's the kind of book you can come back to again and again, because there's so much more in it than mere plot.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is an atmospheric love story of Lou Bigelow and Toby Maytree in Provincetown. Their story begins shortly after World War II and moves forward in time. He's a poet and she's a painter. Their orbits merge in a community with loose social boundaries on Cape Cod. After 14 years of marriage and a child, there is a betrayal and 20 year separation. A reunion is brought about by failing health.The writing is more prose than narrative. The landscape of a peninsula in water is thematic in the story. The story challenges the reader to ponder love, solitude, acceptance, and the boundaries that we humans establish for ourselves.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
What is love? This age-old question is probed along with the accompanying themes of shame and grace. Yet this is more than another book about relationships...its a soul-satisfying contemplation of the choices we make in life.And, oh, the writing. I am captivated with Dillard's way with words. It doesn't even matter to me that many of her allusions are beyond my experience. I get completely immersed in her phrasing and wordplay. The setting on Cape Cod with its glimmering sea, sky, and sand dunes is an important part of the book, but this is definitely no beach read! Its a book to revel in and then cherish.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I enjoyed this gorgeously written story of Toby and Lou and their life in Cape Cod. Sounds so simple. Prose so rich.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Not an easy book for me to read as I was wondering what the author wanted me to get out of it. Never became swept away into the language although the location was pulling me to the sea. After I finished I was thinking about it and decided she was writing about love, not your typical love story. Not an easy book to read or understand but full of lovely language and set in a beautiful place.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is the first novel by Dillard I have read. It made me want to read more of her works. I liked the flow of her writing and the premise of the story. She manages to make the implausible seem reasonable.
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