Aug 23 2015

Lila by Marilynne Robinson

It is so very difficult for me to review Marilynne Robinson’s works, because I always feel like my own prose is inadequate to describing hers. I cried a lot reading Lila, because I understand what it feels like to fall in love with someone even when you don’t trust love or people or existence, when fear and shame are your mainstays and hope feels like an unattainable luxury, or something you deny yourself because it’s better that way, safer. I cried because this novel mirrored the fierce tenderness I feel every day as a mother, the gratitude I have for the sweetness of my children, the appreciation of every closeness they allow me. I cried because unfailing kindness always makes me cry, and unfailing kindness is the undeniable basis of religion in this book, never mind that it isn’t and will never be my religion, though they do share convictions. Lila wasn’t as good as Gilead, but that is asking too much of any book, that it outdo that masterwork. It is, however, an excellent novel on its own, and one to treasure on its own merits. Now I need to go lie down, I’m so worn out, but in a good way, from the experience.

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