Pepper Parker, Vintage Books, Vancouver, Wash.

At long last, Annie Dillard is at it again. Known for her gift of braiding ribbons of darkness to frame great light, using tragedy and death to reveal the marvel of life, now she's turned her scope on love, marriage, betrayal and forgiveness in The Maytrees [Broadway, June]. Shorter and more modern than her previous novel, The Living, The Maytrees stays true to the author's familiar unflinching eye on the truth. Set in the furthest reaches of postwar Provincetown, we meet a small and lovable circle of friends—eccentric, intelligent and unmanageable as the dunes of Cape Cod. Life here is stormy, back-lit by brilliant light and set to the pace of the tides. As always, Dillard handles her characters with gentleness; for all their flaws and frailties, she knows their innocence and willingness in the end to be selfless. Reading Annie Dillard is like walking all day on a cold and lonely beach, then suddenly there it is: a perfect, unblemished shell. She makes us slow down and relish every word.