Author(s): Annie Dillard
Annie Dillard has spent a lifetime examining the world around her with eyes wide open, drinking in all things intensely and relentlessly. Whether observing a sublime lunar eclipse or a moth consumed in a candle flame, the trembling of lily pads on a pond or hundreds of red-winged blackbirds taking flight, Dillard's awe at the fragility of the natural world rejuvenates and inspires pleasure and heartache. Precise in language and deeply meditative in spirit, this is a landmark collection from one of America's masters.
For Annie Dillard there's no realm of knowledge without its accompanying gasp of wonder; she has a mystic's appreciation of the glory and plurality of the world, and a gift for communicating astonishment ... Dillard is triumphantly awake, and these essays are magnificent and dramatic, illuminating and inspirational. Read them; they brim with abundance -- GAVIN FRANCIS * Guardian * Luminous, startling, mischievous ... the memory is scalpel bright, and the imagination alchemical -- RICHARD MABEY Annie Dillard is a brilliant American poet, novelist and essayist, a kind of philosophical nature writer in the tradition of Henry David Thoreau and John Muir ... [The Abundance] grips you with a real and painful sense of the natural world in all its mystery and cruelty * Sunday Times * Annie Dillard's books are like comets, like celestial events that remind us that the reality we inhabit is itself a celestial event -- MARILYNNE ROBINSON Spirited and gale-force. She raps out her opinions; lyrical, gleeful, cymbal-clashing, peppery. The best thing is her glee, a pied-piperish glee at being in the world, which she evokes better than anyone else -- ROBERT MACFARLANE Annie Dillard is among the greatest nature writers who have ever lived. Like Thoreau, like Gilbert White, she combines a naturalist's sharp eye with a philosopher's curiosity and a poet's magical gift for language. Keen, urgent and impassioned, her subject is life itself, in all its teeming and marvellous forms -- OLIVIA LAING Annie Dillard is one of those people who seem to be more fully alive than most of us, more nearly wide-awake than human beings generally get to be * New York Times * A writer who never seems tired, who has never plodded her way through a page or sentence, Dillard can only be enjoyed by a wide-awake reader ...She opens our eyes to the world and to new ways of articulating what we see -- GEOFF DYER The trouble with hasty people like me is that we charge through our time on earth without noticing it. It was Annie Dillard who got me, before it was too late, to pay attention to where I was before I lost it. So I did. What abundance! -- RICHARD HOLLOWAY Annie Dillard's words are the outpouring of a brilliant mind tempered by a pleading heart. Her distinctive voice and incandescent imagery lifts us to heights few writers can ever hope to aspire to. I came to Annie's work through her Pulitzer-winning Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and have hung on every word she has written ever since. This anthology is the perfect introduction to her luminous prose, her insightful wisdom and her powerful engagement with nature and the human spirit -- JOHN LISTER KAYE Dillard archingly transcends all other writers of our day in all the simple, intimate and beautiful ways of the natural master -- BUCKMINSTER FULLER The pleasurable voyages of Dillard's prose are grounded in alert observation - but springing into levitations of surprise and lit by eruptions of discovery -- ROBERT PINSKY Few writers evoke better the emotion of awe and few have ever conveyed more graphically the weight of silence, the force of the immaterial * Boston Globe * Annie Dillard is, was, and always will be the very best at describing the landscapes in which we find ourselves * Star Tribune (Minneapolis) * This book, a writerly mashup of Dillard's best work, samples from an oeuvre forty years in the making. Ever a keen observer, Dillard hooks readers with unusual, often haunting, and yet precisely vivid descriptions. This collection is an excellent entry point into Dillard's writing and would especially appeal to new readers, although Dillard devotees will also enjoy this kaleidoscopic retrospective, this new way of 'seeing' her prose. That said, it will only whet their appetites, leave them hungering for and searching for her complete works * Library Journal * Annie Dillard has a tendency to write the literary equivalent of an earworm. She gets stuck in your head. The Abundance is a thoughtful introduction to her work - Annie Dillard 101. It's a great place to start * Houston Chronicle * Here is a distillation of a strange, powerful sensibility, unique in contemporary American letters ... Annie Dillard is a brilliant and necessary writer who forces upon us the knowledge that we are not living as we should * Chicago Tribune * [S]he is, flagrantly, a consciousness - an abstract, all-encompassing energy field that inhabits a given piece of writing the way sunlight clings to a rock: delicately but with absolute force, always leaving a shadow behind. This is an essential part of what it means to be human, this shifting between the transcendent self and the contingent world, the ecstasy and the dental bill. We all do some version of it, all the time. But Dillard does it more insistently * The St Louis Post Dispatch * An adventure. It is like learning to read all over again. It is a reminder to see - to look and listen - more closely than ever before ... To read Annie Dillard's latest collection of essays is to be a student of language and a student of the world - to look at everything, even the tiniest moments, with perpetual wonder * Washington Independent Review of Books * As observant as Thoreau, as thoughtful as Emerson, as all-embracing as Whitman, Annie Dillard is a great national treasure. Her nature writing is precise and irradiated with the spiritual -- EDMUND WHITE In essay after essay, Annie Dillard demonstrates the mystical art of using exactitude, condensation, and clarity to intimate turbulence, rapture, and plenty... The landscape of nonfiction and American letters looks barren without her radiance -- MAGGIE NELSON Like a jar of fireflies, The Abundance dazzles both in its tiny, blinking specifics and in its cumulative glow. Annie Dillard's wise and funny essays remind us of what a profound blessing life can be if we do but one thing: Pay attention -- GARRY TRUDEAU The clarity of Annie Dillard's forensic gaze is astonishing - she is one of the most brilliant essayists of the past half-century, and this is a tremendous selection -- KEVIN BARRY Arresting, poetic and challenging ... The Abundance grips and pinions the heart * Country Life *
Annie Dillard was born in 1945 in Pennsylvania. She is a much-celebrated poet, novelist and essayist and author of thirteen books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. She is a member of the Academy of Arts and Letters and has received fellowship grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She was awarded the 2014 National Humanities Medal for her work deepening the understanding of the human experience. www.anniedillard.com