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“Robinson revisits the characters from the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead and its companion novel, Home, with her new novel covering the backstory of minister John Ames' young wife, whose raffish beginnings as a migrant worker are told in a series of time shifts. The ebb and flow of the story and the rhythm of the sentences seem effortless, and the skill of a master storyteller at work is fully on display. In Gilead, Iowa, Robinson has created her own Yoknapatawpha County, and if Alice Munro is regarded as our modern-day Chekhov, surely Robinson is our contemporary Faulkner. An impressive work.”
— Matthew Lage, Iowa Book L.L.C., Iowa City, IA
A new American classic from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gilead and Housekeeping
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 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. 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. Despite bouts of petty violence and moments of desperation, their shared life was laced with moments of joy and love. When Lila arrives in Gilead, she struggles to reconcile the life of her makeshift family and their days of hardship with the gentle Christian worldview of her husband which paradoxically judges those she loves.
Revisiting the beloved characters and setting of 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.