The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New by Annie Dillard
Nonfiction – Essay
Published March 15th 2016 by Ecco
This is going to be the worst review ever because I am a huge Annie Dillard fan and that’s not going to change so be prepared for some gushing.
This book is a collection of essays from Annie Dillard’s lengthy career, including some of her most popular pieces as well as some lesser known ones. These essays give an introduction to her skills as writer for turning the ordinary into extraordinary. From a commuter chasing snowball throwing children through backyards, a teenager memorizing poetry, and an eagle falling from the sky with a weasel attached to its throat, The Abundance highlights everything I love about Dillard and why everyone should love her.
I am in love with this book. I loved how it was mish-mash of stories from all different times in her career and with all different themes. In a collection there are obviously going to be some more stories I like more than others and that’s okay. The ones I liked and adored are the ones I found myself relating to the most as I could see myself and my experiences reflected as they brought on memories. I especially enjoyed the stories from American Childhood where she talks about how humor was so present in their household. My family some nights would spend hours at the dinner table just talking and mostly laughing about the day and I always forget how great that actually is. This is definitely a good book for someone to pick up who is new Dillard because it encompasses everything. It is a great place to experience her range from memoir to nature/science/anthropological essay and everything in between and I cannot recommend it enough.
I know this review is short and weird(ish) because short essay collections are already odd to review but I really wanted to gush about this book and this was the final result. Below is just a sampling of all of the quotes I marked (which is a lot so sorry kinda).
“Gentleman of the city, what surprises you? That there is suffering here, or that I know it?”
“Because all the businessmen realized at once, on the same morning, that paper money was only paper. What terrible fools. What did they think it was?”
“Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the solid, turn, and unlock – more than a maple – a universe. This is how you spend this afternoon, and tomorrow morning, and tomorrow afternoon. Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.”