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This New York Times bestselling novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Dillard is a mesmerizing evocation of life in the Pacific Northwest during the last decades of the 19th century.

Published: HarperCollins on Oct 13, 2009
ISBN: 9780061850400
List price: $9.49
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I love Annie Dillard's books for their intensity and for her character studies. This book is almost too intense. You'll understand the title a few different ways by the time you finish the bookread more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I purchased this book shortly after I moved to Bellingham Washington... It was a really great novel that made me really understand how difficult the early settlers had it. I was shocked and dismayed by the huge numbers of people who died horrible deaths in this book.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Dillard's prose is wonderfully descriptive and delightfully crafted; this is a fabulous work.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
don't get too attached to any characters in this book...read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I've been told that this is not Annie Dillard's best work. Nevertheless, there are things about it that I really like, and some things I find less appealing. First, I love the atmospherics in the book. Her description of Western Washington in the 1850's, when the book begins are right on, and give a great period flavor. The dark, dripping forest, the damp days, make the setting feel almost primeval. Unfortunately, I'm less fond of the plot--particularly at the end of the book, when it sort of degenerates into a big whodunit. Who cares. I liked this book but you have to take the good with the bad.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I think the biggest reason that I enjoyed this book is that I live in Seattle, so I am familiar with the areas in which it takes place, and can appreciate how much this area has changed in the past 150 years. The book really made me think about the first white settlers who came out here, and how hard their lives were, yet how rewarding the landscape could be for them, as it is for me.On the downside, the book is at time gruesome and depressing - life was hard for these people, and Dillard doesn't spare us any of the grief or gore. Sometimes I didn't really understand the characters and their feelings. The plot line doesn't really follow a conflict-resolution trajectory: it is just a continuing saga of a few generations of Puget Sound's first settlers, and as such the plot wasn't very satisfying. Closer to real life, perhaps, but there was never a sense of resolution. Dillard's writing is very rewarding.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is not a book through which you race along. It took me a full month to read it, I think. It's very dense, very solid, full of similes that make you think, and situations that make you cringe or cry or laugh or shudder. There's not much of a plot, which in this instance is OK, because the focus of the story is on the people and on the place in which they live and on the nature of life there. You get a definite sense in the first half of the book of the apparent randomness of death on the 19th-century Northwestern U.S. frontier, and the second half goes more into life in a boom town and the way the ups and downs of that kind of existence affect the characters. I'm making it sound very dull, but it's not; the writing is lyrical and thoughtful and very, very good.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Slow, like a Pacific Northwest winter, but I found myself caught up in the story of these pioneers and their families who faced hardship and death. The prose was amazing, full of literary devices that often caused me to stop for a moment and generally made me read slower than I usually do.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

I love Annie Dillard's books for their intensity and for her character studies. This book is almost too intense. You'll understand the title a few different ways by the time you finish the book
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I purchased this book shortly after I moved to Bellingham Washington... It was a really great novel that made me really understand how difficult the early settlers had it. I was shocked and dismayed by the huge numbers of people who died horrible deaths in this book.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Dillard's prose is wonderfully descriptive and delightfully crafted; this is a fabulous work.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
don't get too attached to any characters in this book...
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I've been told that this is not Annie Dillard's best work. Nevertheless, there are things about it that I really like, and some things I find less appealing. First, I love the atmospherics in the book. Her description of Western Washington in the 1850's, when the book begins are right on, and give a great period flavor. The dark, dripping forest, the damp days, make the setting feel almost primeval. Unfortunately, I'm less fond of the plot--particularly at the end of the book, when it sort of degenerates into a big whodunit. Who cares. I liked this book but you have to take the good with the bad.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I think the biggest reason that I enjoyed this book is that I live in Seattle, so I am familiar with the areas in which it takes place, and can appreciate how much this area has changed in the past 150 years. The book really made me think about the first white settlers who came out here, and how hard their lives were, yet how rewarding the landscape could be for them, as it is for me.On the downside, the book is at time gruesome and depressing - life was hard for these people, and Dillard doesn't spare us any of the grief or gore. Sometimes I didn't really understand the characters and their feelings. The plot line doesn't really follow a conflict-resolution trajectory: it is just a continuing saga of a few generations of Puget Sound's first settlers, and as such the plot wasn't very satisfying. Closer to real life, perhaps, but there was never a sense of resolution. Dillard's writing is very rewarding.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is not a book through which you race along. It took me a full month to read it, I think. It's very dense, very solid, full of similes that make you think, and situations that make you cringe or cry or laugh or shudder. There's not much of a plot, which in this instance is OK, because the focus of the story is on the people and on the place in which they live and on the nature of life there. You get a definite sense in the first half of the book of the apparent randomness of death on the 19th-century Northwestern U.S. frontier, and the second half goes more into life in a boom town and the way the ups and downs of that kind of existence affect the characters. I'm making it sound very dull, but it's not; the writing is lyrical and thoughtful and very, very good.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Slow, like a Pacific Northwest winter, but I found myself caught up in the story of these pioneers and their families who faced hardship and death. The prose was amazing, full of literary devices that often caused me to stop for a moment and generally made me read slower than I usually do.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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