Brinley's Reviews > When I Was a Child I Read Books

When I Was a Child I Read Books by Marilynne Robinson
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Apr 12, 12


I have heard many a recommendation for Robinson's book "Housekeeping", yet for one reason or another I never had an interest, & have placed it low on my list of other books to read. Lately all my interest is in poetry and non-fiction; fiction has held a place in my heart in times past, but it seemed as though I had "moved past" the unreal, didn't have time for it. (Although you know, reality and shit, what is it really? Everything's a fiction in one sense, I get it.) Anyway when I found out about her collection of essays, I thought it might be a good primer to get a feel for who Marilynne Robinson is, what concerns her, etc. I did not expect her to convert me back to fiction as absolutely as she did.

She says: "I think fiction may be, whatever else, an exercise in the capacity for imaginative love, or sympathy, or identification." &: "...the scale at which imagination is exerted, the healthier and more humane the community will be." She constantly returns to this theme of imagination & suggests that by building up our capacities in experiencing these fictions, that is also a way to fully experience love & empathy. Without fiction, how would our imagination roam?

I also love what she said, in that same essay (Imagination & Community)about what books have done for her:
"First, books have taught me most of what I know, and they have trained my attention and my imagination. Second, they gave me a sense of the possible, which is the great service--and too often, when it is ungenerous, the great disservice--a community performs for its members. Third, they embodied richness and refinement of language, and the artful use of language in the service of the imagination. Fourth, they gave me and still give me courage."

I enjoy the way Robinson shows confidence of her upbringing, her religion & the things she believes in. She is a profoundly courageous author, and I will definitely bump "Housekeeping" up as a priority read.
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message 1: by Allie (new) - added it

Allie Whiteley Housekeeping is stunning. I also loved Gilead.


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