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The Abundance by Annie Dillard. Book Review

April 6, 2016

The Abundance

Shamefully this is the first book of Annie Dillard’s I have read, and from now on I will be greedily devouring everything I can get my hands on.

If you were not aware that The Abundance is actually a collection of essays you would think, at first, you were reading an incredible work of imagining. Annie Dillard takes real-life and examines it from a most unusual and mesmerising perspectives. Her writing is a joy to read in all its lyrical glory, performing most incredible acrobatics of words, concepts and images, as if she is trying to push language and the reader as far as they both will go and beyond. Yet despite the stream of consciousness and outrageous flights of perception it all seems to make perfect sense while you’re reading it, until you put the book down for a moment. That’s when you realise, like a crime novel where you can’t remember the means or motive, or even whodunit, that you haven’t really grasped it all.

But this is not a problem. It merely provides an excuse to repeatedly immerse yourself in the whole delightful experience, because this is poetry masquerading as prose.

When the writing does settle down into something that becomes more like a commentary on place or nature, the intensity of the author’s visualisations leave you feeling as if you’ve actually been there.

Be prepared to have your mind temporarily hijacked through the act of reading. Something you will come to revel in because of the afterglow the experience leaves behind.

The Abundance is courtesy of Canongate Books via NetGalley.

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