Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Marilynne Robinson and the "trilogy"

Of course, Robinson's three books of Gilead, Home, and Lila are not a trilogy in the traditional sense but a set of interconnected books around two families of ministers in a small Iowa town.  I recently finished Home, and consider it the best (to me) of the three.  It is a retooling of the Prodigal Son but so much more.  Reading it just before my mother-in-law's death leads me to connect it to an emotional occurrence in my own life, so that may be why I hold it in the highest esteem, although of course the other two are excellent in different ways.  I am not sure that the books can be read separately, though!  Lila really won't make much sense if you don't know "the old man," John Ames, a Congregationalist minister, whom she marries after a life of privation as a migrant worker. 

These are not popular fiction books, though.  Her style is such (and I admire this because I reveal things too quickly in my writing, I fear) that you know what you need to know to understand the minds of the characters at that point. 

The copy I bought from Amazon was used, and the previous reader had put in the front this note:  "She is kind of wordy but a pretty good writer."  Generous considering she had won a Pulitzer. 

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Lyrics of the Most Beautiful Hymn: O Love That Will Not Let Me Go

         George Matheson wrote this after he began to go blind and his fiance left him.  O Love that will not let me go, I rest...