Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Reading Gilead is like listening to a grandparent tell your old family legends for the first time. Tinged with beauty and humor, Gilead is the letter that Reverend Ames writes (a.k.a. "his begats") to the son born to him late in life in mid-century Iowa. Marilynne Robinson, who teaches at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, won the Pulitzer Prize for Gilead in 2005, and the morning book group will be discussing it on Friday, April 4 at 10:30 a.m. Everyone is welcome.

James Wood put it best in the New York Times Book Review:
"To bloom only every 20 years would make, you would think, for anxious or vainglorious flowerings. But Marilynne Robinson, whose last (and first) novel, Housekeeping, appeared in 1981, seems to have the kind of sensibility that is sanguine about intermittence. It is a mind as religious as it is literary -- perhaps more religious than literary -- in which silence is itself a quality, and in which the space around words may be full of noises."

If you are interested in the origins of Gilead, check out the NPR interview and Powell's interview with Marilynne Robinson. The Iowa Department for the Blind also has some interesting information about the author (including about how one of her books got banned in Britain) and more discussion questions about Gilead.

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