Book Review: Lila by Marilynne Robinson

lila book marilynne robinson

Here’s the description from the publisher: Marilynne Robinson, one of the greatest novelists of our time, returns to the town of Gilead in an unforgettable story of a girlhood lived on the fringes of society in fear, awe, and wonder.

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 days of suffering 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. Together they crafted a life on the run, living hand-to-mouth with nothing but their sisterly bond and a ragged blade to protect them. But despite bouts of petty violence and moments of desperation, their shared life is laced with moments of joy and love. When Lila arrives in Gilead, she struggles to harmonize the life of her makeshift family and their days of hardship with the gentle Christian worldview of her husband that paradoxically judges those she loves.

Revisiting the beloved characters and setting of Marilynne Robinson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead and Home, a National Book Award Finalist,Lila is a moving expression of the mysteries of existence that is destined to become an American classic.

I really, really loved this book. Reading it was as comforting as sitting in front of a warm fire or having a long conversation with the kindest person you know. I didn’t want to put it down and was sad when it finally ended. It’s beautifully written, thought-provoking and relatable, even if you don’t adhere to Christianity. I’ve recommended it to everyone I know who loves a good book.

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