Thursday, May 25, 2006

50BC06 #9: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

This Pulitzer Prize winning novel is one of the purest expressions of narrative beauty in contemporary fiction. Told through the writings of one narrator, the story weaves in and out of four generations with seamless grace, exploring the inevitable ties that bind: family, friends, faith and love.

As Congregationalist minister John Ames prepares for death, he paints a vivid picture of America’s history from the Civil War to segregation. At the center of his writings to his son, is a lesson about how much we stand to gain from the introspection most of us fail to engage in until it is too late. His poignant reflections resonate with a timelessness, yet never sacrifice the flow of the narrative.

This is a book to be read slowly, a little at a time. Every anecdote and vignette is a life lesson in miniature, but the book never resorts to pontification or blithe nostalgia. It unites believers and non-believers, old and young, men and women in an exquisite tapestry of the human condition.

Posted 9/12/08, originally posted 5/25/06.

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