cover image The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New

The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New

Annie Dillard. Ecco, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-243297-1

This collection gathers together many of Pulitzer-winner Dillard’s best-known writings, drawn from eight of her books, as well as one piece previously published in Harper’s Magazine. After witnessing a total eclipse early one morning, Dillard meditates on the human awe at, and wariness of, natural spectacle: “From the depths of mystery, and even from the heights of splendor, we bounce back and hurry for the latitudes of home.” Without being awake and attentive, Dillard warns, we’ll miss the wondrous details of the world around us and the nuances of our own lives: “I would like to live as I should, as the weasel lives as he should: open to time and death painlessly, noticing everything, remembering nothing, choosing the given with a fierce and pointed will.” On writing, Dillard declares: “Don’t hoard what seems good for another book... anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you.” Fans of Dillard will find nothing new, but this collection serves as a bracing introduction for readers unfamiliar with her work. (Mar.)