Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard’s first volume of prose, was a national best-seller when it was first published in 1974 and won the Pulitzer Prize the following year. Although Dillard has published several popular volumes since—especially Holy the Firm (1977), Teaching a Stone to Talk (1982), Living by Fiction (1982), An American Childhood (1987), and The Writing Life (1989)—Pilgrim at Tinker Creek remains recognized by most readers as her masterpiece.
There is much in the book, as can be seen by what different readers get from it. Orthodox religionists find in the book a reaffirmation of faith. Feminists discover it to be a declaration of female independence, a celebration of the differences that separate women from men. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is the range of its appeal: Although readers like it for very different reasons, all readers seem to like it.