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Marilynne Robinson

September 27, 2008

Marilynne Robinson will be speaking at Central library in a few weeks. I’m so excited! I recently finished her newest novel, Home, companion to the 2005 Pulitzer-winning Gilead, one of my favorite books. 


Home didn’t quite live up to my (sky high) expectations – it’s not another Gilead – but was nonetheless a great read and one I’m happy to add to my library. It was interesting to read the events of Gilead from another point of view (though 3rd person this time, instead of first) and to see the development of Jack and Glory, and Reverend Boughton, but even more interesting was the way Ames, beloved Gilead narrator, seemed unforgiving and almost cruel at times in Jack’s eyes. I can’t wait to hear what Robinson will talk about. 

I also recently read her 2004 Housekeeping

and loved it. Nothing much actually seems to happen in Robinson’s novels, but it doesn’t matter, because they’re so beautifully written. Fast-paced thrillers or mysteries are best read late at night, into the small hours, unable to sleep until you finish; Robinson’s books are perfect for a chilly fall day in front of a fire.   

A few days ago you and your mother came home with flowers. I knew where you had been. Of course she takes you up there, to get you a little used to the place. And I hear she’s made it very pretty, too. She’s a thoughtful woman. You had honeysuckle, and you showed me how to suck the nectar out of the blossoms. You would bite the little tip off a flower and then hand it to me, and I pretended I didn’t know how to go about it, and I would put the whole flower in my mouth, and pretend to chew it and swallow it, and you’d laugh and laugh and say, No! no! no!! And then I pretended I had a bee buzzing around in my mouth, and you said, ‘No, you don’t, there wasn’t any bee!’ and I grabbed you around the shoulders and blew into your ear and you jumped up as though you thought maybe there was a bee after all, and you laughed, and then you got serious and you said, ‘I want you to do this.’ And then you put your hand on my cheek and touched the flower to my lips, so gently and carefully, and said, ‘Now sip.’ You said, ‘You have to take your medicine.’ So I did, and it tasted exactly like honeysuckle, just the way it did when I was your age and it seemed to grow on every fence post and porch railing in creation.

– Gilead

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