Staci Woodburn's Reviews > Gilead

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
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Oct 22, 10

bookshelves: fiction, philosophy-religion

Now this is writing. To be fair, it took me a handful of pages to realize it though. This "novel" takes the form of a letter from elderly father to very young son. It's slow and sentimental and I wasn't sure where it was going. But once I chilled out and set aside expectations of car chases and shootouts, it was absolutely beautiful.

Ames is a 77 year old minister and so I bristled with my usual anticipation of religious nonsense. But his expressions of faith are so simple that the atheist inside me could only admire the poetry and the history behind his devotion. The letter is mostly philosophical reflection, story telling and instruction for a son that will grow up without him. But he is writing it over the course of many weeks, and so there is a contemporary story as well.

It all blends together, sometimes flowing, sometimes drifting into train of thought as letters do. But from beginning to end, it is written with of the kind of eloquence I find missing in so many modern authors. I found myself reading passages aloud because the language was so lyrical and the subject matter so touching. Even to a hard ass like me ;)
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