cover image The Annie Dillard Reader

The Annie Dillard Reader

Annie Dillard. HarperCollins Publishers, $25 (455pp) ISBN 978-0-06-017158-2

Pulitzer Prize winner Dillard (Piligrim at Tinker Creek), a writer of acute and singular observation, gathers poems, short stories, essays and chapters of novels from her diverse body of work. While most of these selections have been previously published, included is a reworked version of the short story ``The Living,'' first published in 1978 in Harper's and from which the characters in the novel of the same title were drawn. There's also a new version of Holy the Firm, Dillard's meditation on and explanation of her search for God in everyday life. This sort of sampler approach works well for a writer whose prose-fiction and non-fiction-often reads like a journal; it also suits readers who like to browse. Dillard moves easily from the specific and physical to the theoretical and metaphysical, blending thought-provoking generalizations with images and descriptions of visceral sensuality. Sure to appeal to Dillard devotees, this collection serves admirably as an introduction to the uninitiated. (Nov.)