Monday, October 29, 2007


Title: Gilead
Author: Marilynne Robinson
Picador, 2005

This Pulitzer Prize Winner takes concentration on the reader's part, otherwise it is just bland, which I noticed when I tried to read it in a state of zonkyness one night. An old Bible-belt preacher has been informed by his doctors that he does not have long to live. The year is 1947 and he sits down to write a letter to his young son, who is only seven. It is a kind of closing of the accounts of life as the old man tries to come to terms with death as well as life's unfinished business.

The novel is decidedly pro-religion even if it deals with doubt to a certain extent. I don't mind it, since I don't feel it is art's responsibility to be politically correct. Also, it is enriching to view life from a completely different standpoint once in a while. If anyone is interested in reading a novel that presents religion in a more problematic way: try Robinson's first novel Housekeeping, which is also very good.

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