In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. Ames is the son of an Iowan preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine, saw a vision of Christ bound in chains and came west to Kansas to fight for abolition: He "preached men into the Civil War", then, at age 50, became a chaplain in the Union Army, losing his right eye in battle.
"A book for dreaming over"
A modern classic, Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, their eccentric and remote aunt. The family house is in the small Far West town of Fingerbone, set on a glacial lake, the same lake where their grandfather died in a spectacular train wreck and their mother drove off a cliff to her death.
"errancy, abandonment, and madness"
Lila, homeless and alone after years of roaming the countryside, steps inside a small-town Iowa church - the only available shelter from the rain - and ignites a romance and a debate that will reshape her life. She becomes the wife of a minister, John Ames, and begins a new existence while trying to make sense of the life that preceded her newfound security. Neglected as a toddler, Lila was rescued by Doll, a canny young drifter, and brought up by her in a hardscrabble childhood.
"Life is what it is...."
The spirit of our times can appear to be one of joyless urgency. As a culture we have become less interested in the exploration of the glorious mind, and more interested in creating and mastering technologies that will yield material well-being. But while cultural pessimism is always fashionable, there is still much to give us hope.
"Mostly thoughts on religious things"
Glory Boughton, aged 38, has returned to Gilead to care for her dying father. Soon her brother, Jack - the prodigal son of the family, gone for 20 years - comes home too, looking for refuge and trying to make peace with a past littered with tormenting trouble and pain.
"Gorgeous and True"
Ever since the 1981 publication of her stunning debut, Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson has built a sterling reputation as a writer of sharp, subtly moving prose, not only as a major American novelist (her second novel, Gilead, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize) but also a rigorous thinker and incisive essayist. In When I Was a Child I Read Books, Robinson returns to and expands upon the themes that have preoccupied her work with renewed vigor.
"Not all agile ad fans will love this."
Edward P. Jones's first book, the story collection Lost in the City, won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. Marilynne Robinson made her literary debut in 1981 with the novel Housekeeping, which received a Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
Marilynne Robinson has built a sterling reputation as a writer of sharp, subtly moving prose, not only as a major American novelist but also as a rigorous thinker and incisive essayist. In When I Was a Child I Read Books, she returns to and expands upon the themes that have preoccupied her work with renewed vigor.
"Wonderful Short Memories"
From the author of Housekeeping, Gilead is the long-hoped-for second novel by one of America's finest writers.
Chosen by the New York Times Book Review as one of the top six novels of 2004.
In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames' life, he begins a letter to his young son, a kind of last testament to his remarkable forebears.
"Dour Reading Failed to Resonate"
Auf dem Sterbebett schreibt John Ames einen Brief an seinen siebenjährigen Sohn. Dem Kind will er alles erklären: Die Einsicht, mit der man das eigene Leben auf einen Schlag begreift, den Trost, der in einer einzelnen Berührung liegen kann, und den Ort, der sein Ende beschließt: Gilead, die kleine Stadt unter dem unermesslichen Himmel des Westens, leicht wie Staub und so schwer wie die Welt.
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books began in 1996 with a simple goal: to bring together the people who create books with the people who love to read them. The festival was an immediate success and has become the largest and most prestigious book festival in the country, attracting more than 130,000 book lovers each year.
Marilynne Robinson discusses her Pulitzer Prize-winning and New York Times best-selling second novel, the lyrical, luminous, unforgettable story of minister John Ames, as told poetically in a long letter to his young son. His powerful story spans three generations from the Civil War to the twentieth century. This is a book that is being passed hand to hand and that booksellers nationwide are recommending.