The Living by Annie Dillard is a fictionalized novel about early settlers of the Pacific Northwest territory of the U.S. This is the first story I’ve read about pioneers who inhabited this area and I found it fascinating. Not only were the pioneers interesting, but the Native American tribes as well.
Dillard is one of my favorite authors. What I especially liked about this novel is the research which went into it. In my mind, it was reminiscent of Willa Cather’s books, but even better. The hardships endured and accomplishments of these people are brought to life in vivid detail with no holes barred. Although I’ve never visited this region, Dillard’s sensory descriptions helped me see the untamed wilderness through the eyes of its early inhabitants. The characters are believable and human. I felt the pain of the people in the story who tragically lost their loved ones throughout the novel. Their strength and fortitude was truly remarkable.
The story covers the lives of many people over several generations. I thought it was excellent. The last line in particular brought tears to my eyes. Highly recommended!