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About this product
- SynopsisThe author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Pilgrim at Tinker Creek delivers her first novel--a stunning and mesmerizing evocation of life in the Pacific Northwest during the late 1800s. The many characters include Indian fishermen, entrepreneurs, and hermits.,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.
- AuthorAnnie Dillard
- Number Of Pages416 pages
- Publication Date1992-05-01
- PublisherHarperCollins Publishers
- Original LanguageEnglish
- Weight28.9 Oz
- Height1.1 In.
- Width6.1 In.
- Length11.1 In.
- LC Classification NumberPS3554.I398L5 1992
Most relevant reviews
- thebookpreserveDec 04, 2008by
Literary, Scintillating Prose: Well Worth the Read!
Annie Dillard's The Living presents a wonderful re-creation of 19th-century pioneer life in the Pacific Northwest- complete with gold miners, railroad speculators, misty-eyed sweethearts, and assorted schemers and dreamers. The novel embodies the precarious, wide-eyed, sometimes solitary, oftentimes
terrifying, ultimately common condition of human life.
When the reader first meets the main characters, Ada and Rooney Fishburn, they are barely into their 20s. They set off by covered wagon for the untamed Northwestern coastland, just south of Canada. Their youthful ignorance and optimism prove to be their greatest assets. With the help of other settlers and a tribe of friendly Lummi Indians, the Fishburns manage to survive. They watch with amazement as gold, railroads, and real estate bring huge fortunes to some, and calamity to others, on their once-isolated shore. By the time the two surviving Fishburn sons have grown, an ever-increasing population of shopkeepers, politicians, and entrepreneurs arriving from the Midwest, the East Coast, and Europe have accellerated the town's pace, sending all of Whatcom's fortunes reeling.
Numerous other characters populate Dillard's narrative, increasing its panoramic scope: John Ireland Sharp, the soul-searching school principal forever marked by the poverty he witnessed in New York City; Minta and June Randall, Baltimore heiresses who bet their hearts and their inheritances on the Northwest coastland; Johnny Lee, a Chinese railway worker whose younger brother was deliberately drowned; and brooding, depraved Beal Obenchain, who toyed with his fellow settlers' psyches as a form of recreation.
Annie Dillard's craft, scintillating prose, and striking insights abound. Her tendency for overdescription, plus a certain emotional detachment from her many characters- who regularly have to vacate the narrative to let others have a turn- tend to create a tattered, rather than seamless, story arc. The Living is literary, a triumph of narrative skill and faithful research, a novel well-worth the read.Read full review