The last thing I read, I think, of Marilynne Robinson (Gilead won the Pulitzer Prize in 2004 ) was her serious forward to a collection of pieces by John Calvin. HarperOne has this nifty series of smallish paperbacks of classic theologians and mystics with sometimes surprising contemporary authors offering introductions (they are called HarperCollins Spiritual Classics, each $11.95.) Her intro to Calvin was excellent.
Interestingly, Robinson also contributed a preface to the lovely Vintage paperback John Calvin: Steward of God's Covenant: Selected Writings ($13.95.)
So, she is obviously quite a thinker, a good writer, and a fine (if deep) essayist, as can be seen in her collection The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought (Picador; $15.) She writes critical pieces on topics as wide-ranging as the notion of wilderness to growing up Presbyterian to historical topics such as abolition, and, of course, more directly literary essays.
But her gift to us all of the two novels, Housekeeping, published in 1980 (and the favorite of some) and the beautiful Gilead, is why she is so beloved. Giliead, if you don't know, is the splendid story told by an old man, a minister, telling his young child about his life. I hope it isn't too far afield (or obvious) to say it reminded me, at least in approach and tone, of The Memory of Old Jack by Wendell Berry. The brand new Home is a parallel story, told in the voice of Reverend Robert Boughton, the best friend of John Ames, the main character in Gilead. Set in the same Iowa town, this is another luminous and tender tale. As it says on the dust jacket, Home is about families, family secrets, the passing generations, about love and death and faith.
We are happy to be able to sell such radiant fiction, books to be savored and discussed.
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