Wednesday, November 19, 2014


The only way I can describe the book Lila is that it is stunningly beautiful.  Marilynne Robinson has hit Gilead is among my very most favorite books of all times; Home, the follow-up to Gilead is among one of my most favorite books, and now Lila is also.  All three of these books take place in Gilead, Iowa.  I very strongly recommend that the reader reads them in the order written.
another one out of the park.  Her book

Lila goes back into the past of Lila, the young girl who married elderly minister John Ames in the book Gilead.  Lila tells the story of Lila growing up and then her meeting and courtship with Rev. Ames.  Lila had suffered a hard and difficult childhood, never knowing who her actual family was, but being raised by Doll, who had taken Lila from where she was living and raised her along with the other drifters who Doll traveled with.  When coming to Gilead, it was a completely different style of life than what Lila had known and much of the book is about the struggle Lila had making sense of life in Gilead, and of the goodness of people.

After Lila met Rev. Ames, each seemed to have a sort of attraction to each other.  Lila, of course, was very untrusting of others and held back from the help that those in Gilead generously offered.  Shortly after she had met Rev. Ames she was thinking about him:

"He had given a sermon, 'Let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.' He said it meant that when you did a good thing it should seem to come from God, not from you. It should not feel to other people like your goodness, and it should not feel that way to you, either. Any good thing is less good the more any human being lays claim to it."
Near the end of the book, Lila was thinking about the future and how to tell her son about his life and his father.

"You turned into a perfectly fine baby.  Maybe your father has enough years left in him to see you turn into a perfectly fine boy.  And maybe not.  Old men are hard to keep."

"Old men are hard to keep"....that line broke my heart.

I felt like the entire book was full of beautiful words.  I hated ending it.


Susan Bybee said...

I just finished this. OMG, so beautiful. Robinson should get a second Pulitzer for Lila.

Sue F. said...

I so agree!