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HolyGround >> An Excellent Novel


9/15/10 4:58 AM
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Ridgeback
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 I recently read (well listened to the audio version of) Gilead by Marylinne Robinson and it was one of the best novels I have read in a long time.  The gist of the novel is that an old preacher in his 70's is writing to his son (who is seven in the narrative) in the form of letters he will be able to read when he is an adult.  He tries to convey to his son what kind of man he is and also discusses his forbears, who are equally interesting characters.  The father of the protagonist was a pacifist, while his father fought alongside John Brown as part of the abolitionist movement in Kansas.  So many great issues are explored in this novel and Robinson writes some of the finest prose I have ever read.  

I believe Robinson is a Congregationalist/ Calvinist, but I think this book will appeal to Christians from all traditions, as well as non-Christians.  It won a Pulitzer Prize so it has a pretty broad appeal.  I am currently making my way through her excellent essays in The Death of Adam and then plan to read her new book entitled Absence of Mind.  She is a brilliant woman with many interesting ideas.  It is always nice to stumble upon writers like her and be pleasantly surprised:

http://www.amazon.com/Gilead-Novel-Marilynne-Robinson/dp/031242440X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284540691&sr=8-1
9/15/10 10:08 PM
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Lahi
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Thanks Ridge. If I ever get the time to read anything besides music charts again I'll try to check her out:) Sounds really good.
9/15/10 11:01 PM
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Lahi
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People who actually have character, and who have put in the work to get there, seem few and far between. For a while I wondered if they even existed, as cynical as that is. I guess that's one reason I'd be interested in this book. I'd imagine a father writing to his son like that could be pretty deep and thought provoking.
9/16/10 1:43 AM
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Ridgeback
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 A few passages:

"There is no justice in love, no proportion in it, and there need not be, because in any specific instance it is only a glimpse or parable of an embracing, incomprehensible reality. It makes no sense at all because it is the eternal breaking in on the temporal. So how could it subordinate itself to cause or consequence?" 

 "I am grateful for all those dark years, even though in retrospect they seem like a long, bitter prayer that was answered finally." 

"I’m writing this in part to tell you that if you ever wonder what you’ve done in your life, and everyone does wonder sooner or later, you have been God’s grace to me, a miracle, something more than a miracle. You may not remember me very well at all, and it may seem to you to be no great thing to have been the good child of an old man in a shabby little town you will no doubt leave behind. If only I had the words to tell you." 

"In every important way we are such secrets from one another, and I do believe that there is a separate language in each of us, also a separate aesthetics and a separate jurisprudence. Every single one of us is a little civilization built on the ruins of any number of preceding civilizations, but with our own variant notions of what is beautiful and what is acceptable - which, I hasten to add, we generally do not satisfy and by which we struggle to live. We take fortuitous resemblances among us to be actual likeness, because those around us have also fallen heir to the same customs, trade in the same coin, acknowledge, more or less, the same notions of decency and sanity. But all that really just allows us to coexist with the inviolable, intraversable, and utterly vast spaces between us." 

"People who feel any sort of regret where you are concerned will suppose you are angry, and they will see anger in what you do, even if you're just quietly going about a life of your own choosing. They will make you doubt yourself, which, depending on cases, can be a severe distraction and a waste of time. This is a thing I wish I had understood much earlier than I did." 

"These people who can see right through you never quite do you justice, because they never give you credit for the effort you're making to be better than you actually are, which is difficult and well meant and deserving of some little notice."

 

 

 

 

9/17/10 5:13 PM
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Lahi
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Wow. Just wow at that writing. Gonna have to read that.
9/18/10 9:55 AM
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jimmy23
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wow, interesting excerpts, might have to read that one 
9/18/10 7:55 PM
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Ridgeback
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 I found an interview with Robinson.  
9/21/10 3:47 PM
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CJJScout
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Gonna have to check this out.
9/22/10 12:49 PM
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Lahi
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Edited: 09/22/10 12:49 PM
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Great interview, thanks.
9/23/10 3:38 PM
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zealot66
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 I long for good christian fiction. Most is just garbage. Im trying to write more and examine life thru the spiritual lense. Literature seems to be one area christians cant seem to redeem thru coorporate publishing and selling to goody two shoes. Thanks for the link.

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