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Day 4

Pages 45-59 (through "Perhaps, she asked later, he never did?")

July 26, 2020 by Elizabeth McCracken

The 3rd person narrator, when it comes to Maytree (I never think of him as Toby) is so subtle. On page 45, he asks Lou a question, & she agrees—only with her smile & eyes. He has an enormous ego which Dillard gets at from the inside. —Elizabeth

The stars are always over the Maytrees, the puzzle of their constancy even as they move. In an interview with Publishers Weekly Dillard says she wanted to call the book a "Romantic Comedy about Light Pollution." To remove the stars for any reason is a crime. —Elizabeth

Here is the interview, in which she reveals that this slender book was once 1400 pages. —Elizabeth

“But the story wouldn't bear it; it's a simple little story. You can't pile all this stuff on the back of a frail couple.” —Annie Dillard on the Maytrees.

“I'd look at each character: do you have to be here? Are you necessary or optional? If you're optional, then off with your head!” —Annie Dillard on the Maytrees.

Maytree is always most insufferable when we are in his head & know his thoughts. This is Dillard’s empathetic ruthlessness. Or maybe all poets make surprise visits to their publishers? —Elizabeth

Though we don’t know it, when we turn to page 61, we will learn that for all of these pages, we have not yet started Part One of the book. So where have we been? In various states of before-time. —Elizabeth

“Perhaps, she asked later, he never did."

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