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Annie Dillard is an American poet, novelist and essayist and author of thirteen books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. She has spent a lifetime examining the world around her with eyes wide open, drinking in all things intensely and relentlessly. Whether observing a sublime lunar eclipse or a moth consumed in a candle flame, the trembling of lily pads on a pond or hundreds of red-winged blackbirds taking flight, Dillard's awe at the fragility of the natural world rejuvenates and inspires pleasure and heartache. Precise in language and deeply meditative in spirit, this is a landmark collection from one of America's masters.
Annie Dillard was born in 1945 in Pennsylvania. She is a much-celebrated poet, novelist and essayist and author of thirteen books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. She is a member of the Academy of Arts and Letters and has received fellowship grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She was awarded the 2014 National Humanities Medal for her work deepening the understanding of the human experience.
"Annie Dillard's great originality lies in her fierce interrogation of creation. Why should anything – light, love, leaf – be the way it is? The inquisition is luminous, startling, mischievous. She once declared that her writing happened when imagination meets memory in the dark. Well, the memory is scalpel bright, and the imagination alchemical"
– Richard Mabey
"Dillard's style is spirited and gale-force. She raps out her opinions; lyrical, gleeful, cymbal-clashing, peppery. The best thing is her glee, a pied-piperish glee at being in the world, which she evokes better than anyone else"
– Robert MacFarlane
"What stays longest with the reader is the magnesium-flare intensity of her prose and her invincible joy at being alive"
– New Statesman, 'Books of the Year 2016'
"For Annie Dillard there's no realm of knowledge without its accompanying gasp of wonder; she has a mystic's appreciation of the glory and plurality of the world, and a gift for communicating astonishment. This collection of essays has tremendous range: amoebae to the Andromeda galaxy; specks of dust to planetary motion; redemption to the brute facts of suffering [...] Dillard is triumphantly awake, and these essays are magnificent and dramatic, illuminating and inspirational. Read them; they brim with abundance"
–Gavin Francis, Guardian
"Annie Dillard is among the greatest nature writers who have ever lived. Like Thoreau, like Gilbert White, she combines a naturalist's sharp eye with a philosopher's curiosity and a poet's magical gift for language. Keen, urgent and impassioned, her subject is life itself, in all its teeming and marvellous forms"
– Olivia Laing
"The clarity of Annie Dillard's forensic gaze is astonishing – she is one of the most brilliant essayists of the past half-century, and this is a tremendous selection"
– Kevin Barry
"A writer who never seems tired, who has never plodded her way through a page or sentence, Dillard can only be enjoyed by a wide-awake reader [...] She opens our eyes to the world and to new ways of articulating what we see"
– Geoff Dyer
"The trouble with hasty people like me is that we charge through our time on earth without noticing it. It was Annie Dillard who got me, before it was too late, to pay attention to where I was before I lost it. So I did. What abundance!"
– Richard Holloway
"In essay after essay, Annie Dillard demonstrates the mystical art of using exactitude, condensation, and clarity to intimate turbulence, rapture, and plenty [...] The landscape of nonfiction and American letters looks barren without her radiance"
– Maggie Nelson
"Annie Dillard's books are like comets, like celestial events that remind us that the reality we inhabit is itself a celestial event"
– Marilynne Robinson