Creative non-fiction genius and nature writer extraordinaire Annie Dillard has won a Pulitzer Prize for her essay writing. She has a unique, warm and intensely spiritual, even transcendental way of writing that elevates her above most other writers. That’s big praise I know, but this is really great writing.
She has the ability to probe into everyday and mundane occurrences like a candle flickering, or a child throwing a snowball at a car or an eagle that falls from the sky with its prey in its mouth. Dillard can craft these experiences into an emotional, and profound reading experience.
This collection, called The Abundance brings together some of her more well known and beloved pieces along with lesser known work.
With her talented mind she manages to turn the mundane into the fascinating. This style of writing is known as serialised non-fiction. It’s vivid, fearless and invites us the readers into the microscopic world of tiny animals, all the way through the complexities of what it means to be alive and dying, to the vast unknowable cathedral rim of the night sky.
Dillard is the most human and yet supernatural of writers about human existence, the natural world and everything around us.
I had heard of this lady over the years but never got the chance to read her work, now I want to devour everything she is ever written. If you can’t find The Abundance, you will likely enjoy her other books. They are about life, death and everything in between and are pure poetry and splendour.
“The mind wants to live forever, or to learn a very good reason why not. The mind wants the world to return its love, or its awareness; the mind wants to know all the world, and all eternity, even God. The mind’s sidekick, however, will settle for two eggs over easy. The dear, stupid body is as easily satisfied as a spaniel. And, incredibly, the simple spaniel can lure the brawling mind to its dish. It is everlastingly funny that the proud, metaphysically ambitious, clamoring mind will hush if you give it an egg.”
― Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New