popular Lila online (Oprah's Book discount Club): A Novel outlet online sale

popular Lila online (Oprah's Book discount Club): A Novel outlet online sale

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Description

Product Description

The New York Times Bestseller
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
National Book Award Finalist

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.

Review

“Writing in lovely, angular prose that has the high loneliness of an old bluegrass tune, Ms. Robinson has created a balladlike story . . . The novel is powerful and deeply affecting . . . Ms. Robinson renders [Lila''s] tale with the stark poetry of Edward Hopper or Andrew Wyeth.” ―Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Lila is a book whose grandeur is found in its humility. That''s what makes Gilead among the most memorable settings in American fiction . . . Gilead [is] a kind of mythic everyplace, a quintessential national setting where our country''s complicated union with faith, in all its degrees of constancy and skepticism, is enacted.” ―Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

“My message is simple. Even if you haven''t found the two previous books to your taste, give Lila a try . . . what we get . . . is the highest fictional magic: a character who seems so real, it''s hard to remember that she exists only in the page of this book.” ―John Wilson, Chicago Tribune

Lila, Marilynne Robinson''s remarkable new novel, stands alone as a book to read and even read again. It''s both a multilayered love story and a perceptive look at how early deprivation causes lasting damage . . . Robinson is a novelist of the first order.” ―Ellen Heltzel, The Seattle Times

Grade: A Emotionally and intellectually challenging, it''s an exploration of faith in God, love, and whatever else it takes to survive.” ―Entertainment Weekly

“Gorgeous writing, an absolutely beautiful book . . . This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Robinson, a novelist who can make the most quotidian moments epic because of her ability to peel back the surfaces of ordinary lives . . . [a] profound and deeply rendered novel.” ―David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times

“Marilynne Robinson is one of the great religious novelists, not only of our age, but any age . . . Not even gorgeous is a strong enough word for what grandeur charges the pages of Lila.” ―Casey Cep, New Republic

“Written in beautiful, precise language, [Lila] glows like a banked fire that provides steady illumination. Lila should prompt first-time Robinson readers to track down her other works.” ―Martha Woodall, Philadelphia Inquirer

“Set aside the idea that Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson''s groundbreaking 1980 debut novel, should be on anyone''s short list for the Great American Novel . . . It''s just as well to open Lila with no preconceptions and just star reading. The pages in this volume are dense, but once you release yourself to Robinson''s rhythms, the rewards are profound and layered, and what was intimidating becomes magnetic.” ―The Denver Post

“Ever since the publication of Robinson''s thrilling first novel, Housekeeping, reviewers have been pointing out that, for an analyst of modern alienation, she is an unusual specimen: a devout Protestant, reared in Idaho. She now lives in Iowa City, where she teaches at the Iowa Writers'' Workshop and where, for years, she has been accustomed to interrupting her career as a novelist to produce essays on such matters as the truth of John Calvin''s writings. But Robinson''s Low Church allegiance has hugely benefited her fiction . . . This is an unflinching book.” ―Joan Acocella, The New Yorker

“Marilynne Robinson tracks the movements of grace as if it were a wild animal, appearing for fleeting intervals and then disappearing past the range of vision, emerging again where we least expect to find it. Her novels are interested in what makes grace necessary at all--shame and its afterlife, loss and its residue, the limits and betrayals of intimacy. In Lila, her brilliant and deeply affecting new novel, even her description of sunlight in a St. Louis bordello holds a kind of heartbreak.” ―Leslie Jamison, The Atlantic

“Radiant . . . As in Gilead and Home, Robinson steps away from the conventions of the realistic novel to deal with metaphysical abstractions, signaling by the formality of her language her adoption of another convention, by which characters inhabiting an almost Norman Rockwell-ish world . . . live and think on a spiritual plane . . . [Lila is] a mediation on morality and psychology, compelling in its frankness about its truly shocking subject: the damage to the human personality done by poverty, neglect and abandonment.” ―Diane Johnson, The New York Times Book Review

“In her new novel, Lila, Marilynne Robinson has written a deeply romantic love story embodied in the language and ideas of Calvinist doctrine. She really is not like any other writer. She really isn''t . . . Robinson has created a small, rich and fearless body of work in which religion exists unashamedly, as does doubt, unashamedly.” ―Cathleen Schine, The New York Review of Books

“Robinson''s genius is for making indistinguishable the highest ends of faith and fiction . . . The beauty of Robinson''s prose suggests an author continually threading with spun platinum the world''s finest needle.” ―Michelle Orange, Bookforum

“The protagonist of the stunning Lila is as lost a character as can be found in literature . . . Don''t hesitate to read Lila . . . It''s a novel that stands on its own and is surely one of the best of the year.” ―Holly Silva, St Louis Post-Dispatch

“Existence and ''all the great storms that rise in it'' are at the heart of Marilynne Robinson''s glorious new novel, Lila . . . Lila is--at once--powerful, profound, and positively radiant in its depiction of its namesake, a child reared by drifters who finds a kindred soul in ''a big, silvery old man,'' the Rev. John Ames . . . Life, death, joy, fear, doubt, love, violence, kindness--all of this, and more, dwells in Lila, a book, I will venture, already for the ages, its protagonist engraved upon our souls.” ―Karen Brady, The Buffalo News

Lila is a dark, powerful, uplifting, unforgettable novel. And Robinson''s Gilead trilogy--Gilead, Home, and Lila--is a great achievement in American fiction.” ―Bryan Wooley, Dallas Morning News

Starred Review This third of three novels set in the fictional plains town of Gilead, Iowa, is a masterpiece of prose in the service of the moral seriousness that distinguishes Robinson''s work . . . Lila is a superb creation. Largely uneducated, almost feral, Lila has a thirst for stability and knowledge.” ―Publishers Weekly

*Starred Review* Robinson has created a tour de force, an unforgettably dynamic odyssey, a passionate and learned moral and spiritual inquiry, a paean to the earth, and a witty and transcendent love story--all within a refulgent and resounding novel so beautifully precise and cadenced it wholly tranfixes and transforms us.” ―Donna Seaman, Booklist

*Starred Review* This is a lovely and touching story that grapples with the universal question of how God can allow his children to suffer. Recommended for fans of Robinson as well as those who enjoyed Elizabeth Strout''s Olive Kitteridge, another exploration of pain and loneliness set against the backdrop of a small town.” ―Evelyn Beck, Library Journal

“Literary lioness Robinson--she''s won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction, a Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, and a National Book Critics Circle Award, among other laurels--continues the soaring run of novels with loosely connected story lines and deep religious currents that she launched a decade ago, almost a quarter century after her acclaimed fiction debut, Housekeeping . . . Lila''s journey--its darker passages illuminated by Robinson''s ability to write about love and the natural world with grit and graceful reverence--will mesmerize both longtime Robinson devotees and those coming to her work for the first time.” ―Elle

About the Author

Marilynne Robinson is the recipient of a 2012 National Humanities Medal, awarded by President Barack Obama, for "her grace and intelligence in writing." She is the author of Gilead, winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award; Home, winner of the Orange Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and Lila, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her first novel, Housekeeping, won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. Robinson''s nonfiction books include The Givenness of Things, When I Was a Child I Read Books, Absence of Mind, The Death of Adam, and Mother Country. She lives in Iowa City, Iowa.

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BOB
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A life of poverty and rootlessness rescued by quiet benevolence
Reviewed in the United States on July 11, 2020
Marilynne Robinson’s third of her novels set in Gilead, Iowa in the middle of the 20th century focuses on the quiet, much younger wife of the elderly Reverend John Ames. Lila was seen peripherally in ‘Gilead’ and then appeared in ‘Home’ sporadically in visits between the... See more
Marilynne Robinson’s third of her novels set in Gilead, Iowa in the middle of the 20th century focuses on the quiet, much younger wife of the elderly Reverend John Ames. Lila was seen peripherally in ‘Gilead’ and then appeared in ‘Home’ sporadically in visits between the Ames and Boughton families in which she spoke rarely but, when she did, offering comments of simple wisdom. ‘Lila’ depicts her deprived, poverty-stricken and rootless life before and after she meets Ames.

Though no definite year is given for when most events occur, Lila is a very young, abused and neglected little girl of about four or five, presumably in the early years of the Depression. Knowing the family a bit and seeing the abuse first hand, a lady known only as “Doll” abducts her from the family and looks after her with more motherly love and protection than Lila’s own mother ever did. Doll is the child’s only home and source of security when they begin their roaming, migrant life.

They get sporadic work with a makeshift family consisting of a man named Doane and his wife Marcelle, and another family that has a child named Mellie. Like the families in ‘The Grapes of Wrath’, they move from place to place somewhere in the vicinity of Kansas or Missouri. Lila is not even Lila’s real name, which she never knew, just one that Doll likes.

Doll is a fierce protector of Lila and eventually kills a man with her knife. Lila wonders if this man was her real father but is never certain. Doll gives her the knife after she is arrested, just before Lila has to move on. She carries the knife like it’s a holy amulet, the only possession she treasures.

The novel is seen through Lila’s point of view and switches back and forth from her adult life back to her childhood, eventually filling in most of the blanks between when her life with Doll began and the time that she sought shelter from a storm in the sanctuary of Ames’ church in Gilead. She had been wandering until she found a shack outside the town which did little to keep out the rain.

The romance and subsequent marriage between Lila and Ames takes a wary yet curious trajectory before either of them can settle into a position approximating security. Lila has had to build up defenses around herself and not depend on any possible bonds or circumstances that might be ripped out of her life. Doll was her center but then Doll was taken out of her life. At some point she ended up in a brothel in St. Louis but never was successful as a prostitute so the madam, only known as “Mrs.”, decided to let her stay on for a while as a cleaning lady.

All of these episodes in Lila’s past life are presented glancingly and never really in their context in the linear chain of cause and effect of personal backstory. When she appears in Ames’ life, he sees her arrival as a gift of Grace. He has lived the same solitary life for forty years since his first wife died in childbirth along with their baby. He offers Lila food, shelter, and as much understanding as she requires, without making reciprocal requests.

Lila is wary of his theology. She cannot accept that Doll, or herself for that matter, will be consigned to everlasting Hell for doing nothing but attempting to survive and live in peace. She is relieved to find that Ames doesn’t adhere to that view either.
“Thinking about hell doesn’t help me live the way I should. I believe this is true for most people. And thinking that other people might go to hell just feels evil to me, like a very grave sin. I don’t want to encourage anyone else to think that way. Even if you don’t assume that you can know in individual cases, it’s still a problem to think about people in general as if they might go to hell. You can’t see the world the way you ought to if you let yourself do that. Any judgment of that kind is a great presumption. And presumption is a very grave sin. I believe this is sound theology, in its way.”

Lila replies, “I don’t understand theology. I don’t think I like it. Lots of folks live and die and never worry themselves about it.” Ames sympathizes and realizes that he’s preached and talked theology with Boughton for too many years to remember that there are people in the world like Lila.

Lila’s perpetual wanderlust and rootlessness even emerges in her consciousness while she is pregnant, thinking that she’ll stay with Boughton through the birth and reserve the right to take her baby and leave him. However, she gradually accepts that his kindness and love for her will only disappear once he dies, which she doesn’t want to dwell on as long as she doesn’t have to.

After the birth Boughton insists on baptizing the baby as soon as possible. Unlike Ames, is a fierce believer in baptism to rescue someone, even an innocent newborn infant, from eternal hellfire. He felt the same grief regarding his own son in the previous novel. Christian theology is still a current running through ‘Lila’ just as it had in ‘Home’ and, to the largest extent, ‘Gilead’, but that just seems to be part of the territory with Robinson’s ‘Gilead’ novels, especially if a minister is one of the main characters.

I said regarding ‘Home’ that each of Robinson’s novels have very small casts of characters. That still holds for ‘Lila’. Even though other characters appear at various points in Lila’s pre-Gilead/Ames life such as Doane and Marcelle and Mellie in the migrant days or Mrs. and her set of prostitutes in the St. Louis brothel, none of them are anything more than background. ‘Lila’ is essentially a two-character novel. These dialectical pairs of characters seem to be the major colors of the pallet from which she paints her word canvases.

Lila has absorbed some generosity of spirit in spite of her distrust of humans. Once when she returns to her shack, she finds a very dirty boy sleeping in her shack. The main things of value for her in that shack are some dollar bills and that heirloom knife. The boy got fed up with his violent father, smashed his head with a skillet, and ran off, thinking he has killed him. He is very frightened. She gives him the money but insists that he return the knife to her. Although she thinks of that boy as the thief on the cross beside Jesus, she did what she could for him, embodying Jesus’ dictum, “If you’ve done it to the least of these, you’ve done it to me.”

At the end, Lila maintains a semblance of balance between faith and defense. She tells Ames that she’ll keep the knife with her. She knows she’s brought a helpless child into “a world where a wind could rise that would take him from her arms as if there were no strength in them at all.” For now, she has geraniums in the window and peace in her heart and with her new family, for however long it lasts.
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Diane J. Pfister-drews
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Marilynne Robinson''s book Lila
Reviewed in the United States on September 28, 2019
I read Robinson''s Pulitzer Prize winning novel Gilead and liked it so much that I wanted to read all of her novels. To my delight, each one (except her first) followed the characters mentioned in Gilead. Her writing perspective is interesting to me because she gets into her... See more
I read Robinson''s Pulitzer Prize winning novel Gilead and liked it so much that I wanted to read all of her novels. To my delight, each one (except her first) followed the characters mentioned in Gilead. Her writing perspective is interesting to me because she gets into her character''s minds where there are contradictory thoughts/ideas/conflicting actions. This makes her characters very human to me. Lila is the woman who marries the preacher from the book Gilead. Lila is not her strongest work, but very interesting, revealing, eye-opening. Robinson writes about preachers who spend their lives trying to make sense of life via scripture and their love for their children who struggle with the rigidity (yet also the comfort) of religion. Homelessness is a big theme -- the desire for freedom and finding connection to others in whatever way can be done.
The book was delivered quickly and was in good shape. Thank you.
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Katherine Cameron
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Robinson knocks it out of the Park
Reviewed in the United States on June 2, 2015
This is a big (GREAT) book, not in size, but in scope, language, and subject matter. As I came to the last page, it was hard for me to think of what else there is to say about life. Maybe tomorrow it will come to me. The book, on one level, contains an archetypal... See more
This is a big (GREAT) book, not in size, but in scope, language, and subject matter. As I came to the last page, it was hard for me to think of what else there is to say about life. Maybe tomorrow it will come to me.

The book, on one level, contains an archetypal human story: A man and a woman meet, learn to love, marry, and bear a child. Lila meets Ames, marries, and becomes pregnant early in the book, while the birth of her child comes close to the end. In between those pages come flashbacks to Lila''s desperate childhood and youth, before she meets Ames. These stories, mostly in the Lila''s voice, reveal her profound intellect, powers of observation, survival skills, and essential compassion for her fellow sufferers.

But the book is more than a story. It is a beautiful poem, with stanzas of language that made me gasp and underline. Robinson plays with time, punctuation, rhythm, voice, like some amazing jazz riff on the instrument of English. She weaves her narrator back and forth among the inner voices of the characters. The whole thing hangs by a thread from sheer madness in places, and this is just exactly right for the story.

Objects in this book also become vivid characters. There is the scarf and its many transformations: wrapped around Lila by Doll when she is rescued as a child, draped around Lila as a sweater by Ames, unwrapped in the end by Lila from her own brand new child, to reveal him bare against her breast, alive. And there is Lila''s knife, everywhere in the book: "That knife was the difference between her and anybody else in the world."

As the book proceeds, the Ames-Lila relationship becomes more and more imaginable. They both PAY ATTENTION, give away their coats to cover strangers, and feel WONDER over the meaning of existence. That''s a lot to have in common, and they confirm this - both of them - as the book progresses to its exquisite end.

It had been a long time since I have cried deeply over a work of art, and as Robinson (Lila) says, "You always seem to need to touch the place it might hurt to touch. And not just once, either." The hurt of this book is healing. Ames would probably call this grace. As a non-believer, I will borrow from Ames: " I don''t think there''s a name for it."
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Diplocaulus
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Perfectly written, with deep truths running between thoughts and memories, fears and dreams, prayers and curses.
Reviewed in the United States on July 22, 2015
Lila is the wife of Ames, the narrator of the author''s previous book, Gilead, who cannot rectify her present with her past. Her life before "the old man," who she loves despite herself, was one of hard work and uncertainties, traveling across the country during the... See more
Lila is the wife of Ames, the narrator of the author''s previous book, Gilead, who cannot rectify her present with her past. Her life before "the old man," who she loves despite herself, was one of hard work and uncertainties, traveling across the country during the Great Depression finding odd jobs with a band of unemployed folks. Doll and Doane, the closest people she had to role models, taught her of a harsh world that can''t be trusted and can''t be anything more than the brutal place it is. As she finds herself pregnant not long after the wedding, she wonders what kind of life she will be able to make for her child, which world she''ll show him. She''s been alone so long, she doesn''t know what to make of a life where people need and love her.

Robinson, as in her earlier novels, has created a character as believable as truth. The book is saturated with Lila''s thoughts. She considers herself ignorant, uneducated, but she is a philosopher at heart, always thinking, always wondering, always dreaming of what ifs, and seeking answers to difficult—perhaps unanswerable—questions. (Which is partially why Ames loves her.) The answers Ames tries to provide, couched in his congregationalist theology, do not always satisfy Lila who was raised religionless. She has trouble understanding how old words about long gone people can resonate and apply to today''s world, marveling when they do, shrugging when they don''t.

The book is not all rumination, of course, but also sad and lovely moments: her proposal to Ames, seeing a beautiful valley, the taste of a dirty carrot, bathing in the river, sitting on a church step for a day, a March of deep snow and summer nights of stars.

In many ways this is a book about faith, trust, and hope in the faces of tragedy and blessing. Robinson has woven the spiritual with the earthly, the vulgar with the sublime, with threads of truth between them.
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Katy Luther
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Best novels I have read in many years
Reviewed in the United States on January 31, 2015
I have just finished this book, which is the third in a trilogy. The first book was Gilead, and the second book is Home. Probably, you should read them in order, though Lila is actually a prequel to the other two. Still, I would read them in order. Best novels I have... See more
I have just finished this book, which is the third in a trilogy. The first book was Gilead, and the second book is Home. Probably, you should read them in order, though Lila is actually a prequel to the other two. Still, I would read them in order. Best novels I have read in many years. There are so many reviews of this book and the other two in the trilogy that the reviewers have made all the points that I would make except for just a couple. The first is that I just can''t stop thinking about the continuing story contained in Gilead, and Home, and Lila. That is the hallmark of a really good novel, to me. I read all three in a row, one after the other, so that I was just submerged in the story for days. I wish that the author would publish another one RIGHT NOW! (excuse the shouting).

Second, my husband also has read them all. I got him started on Gilead and hoped that he would like it. Well he devoured it. His favorite of the three was Gilead, and he is reading that, now for the second time. He also liked Lila a lot and said that the migrant workers with whom Lila spent her early years reminded him of guys he used to do factory work with. He said that the author really understood the value system that he was exposed to in the factory in the early 60s (particularly solid stoicism and endurance, willingness to work very hard, personal resourcefullness, community effort, and suspiciousness of outsiders, and reluctance to accept "handouts" or help from others) , and he was amazed that she illustrated it so well.

Third, these three books truly illuminate, in a humane and understanding way, a couple of very different subsets of American culture in the 1920s through the 1950s. I have gained understanding of others from these books, and that is another hallmark of a great novel.
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Laurel-Rain Snow
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
RECONCILING THE PAST WITH THE PRESENT
Reviewed in the United States on April 15, 2016
She was a neglected baby, then she was a rescued toddler. Clutched from the jaws of poverty and fear, she followed along with the woman who rescued her, accepting what was given and what she had to do to survive. So how can she now be another kind of woman, the... See more
She was a neglected baby, then she was a rescued toddler. Clutched from the jaws of poverty and fear, she followed along with the woman who rescued her, accepting what was given and what she had to do to survive.

So how can she now be another kind of woman, the wife of the minister in a small town in Iowa called Gilead? How can she be pregnant with his child, fitting into his world, and somehow reconciling her new circumstances with what has gone before?

Lila: A Novel is the kind of story that meanders from the past to the present, and even takes the reader into an imagined future, as we follow along with the character’s thoughts. What seems like a wonderful place of safety here in Gilead with the minister she has married, and who, through a good part of the book, she is still trying to adjust to, from his very presence to his philosophy on life and on existence, is also a place that arouses fears. Can she fit what she knows of her past into the present and future she is creating? What is the meaning of her existence, and what does her new situation mean about those she left behind?

This novel was challenging to read, since it moved all over the place, bringing some confusion as it did so, but throughout, this reader could sense that the philosophical meanderings of the young woman were bringing her to some kind of resolution. Finally. 4 stars.
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Il'ja Rákoš
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
And, at long last, the Spirit Descends - LILA
Reviewed in the United States on October 15, 2014
It takes no more than a sentence or two of Marilynne Robinson''s most recent novel for the hard truth to set in that Lila - the eponymous heroine - will lead a life that is anything but ordinary. Born into a family in which the only viable alternative to abuse is neglect,... See more
It takes no more than a sentence or two of Marilynne Robinson''s most recent novel for the hard truth to set in that Lila - the eponymous heroine - will lead a life that is anything but ordinary. Born into a family in which the only viable alternative to abuse is neglect, the probability of Lila surviving childhood seems remote at best. And then, at the end of another day of horrifying routine after "the people inside fought themselves quiet", the child is snatched away by a woman known to her only as Doll. It is the middle of the night as Doll steals away from the porch asking no one who can answer "Where we gonna go?"

Set in the 1930s against the backdrop of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, "Lila" - novel and protagonist - is filled with the characters who display the resolve, desperation, and spirit that have come to mark that period in popular consciousness. But Marilynne Robinson is too intelligent, too aware, and too gifted to resort to a plot driven by hard luck cliché. Instead, she gives us Lila, the child becoming the woman, and her encounter with the world, viewing it through the prism of the migrant poor - those who, like her, were perhaps also unaware "that there were other names for seasons than planting and haying. Walk south ahead of the weather, walk north in time for the crops."

Destitute, hungry, and reconciled to the brutality and brevity of her existence, the girl trusts no one beyond Doll, expects nothing beyond crushing need. And it is here, when that need grows most desperate, that Marilynne Robinson''s sublime literary creation - the homely township of Gilead - reappears to see us through the story of Lila.

Here, in Gilead, the young woman whose "whole life is written on her face" is met by the Reverend Ames, and it is with this introduction that Robinson''s earlier, masterful novels "Gilead" and "Home" take on even greater depth. If you have not read those earlier works, "Lila" is nonetheless authentic, spirited storytelling which stands on its own. Taken as a trilogy, however, the lives of the residents of Gilead rightly claim their place in American literary history alongside those of Faulkner''s Yoknapatawpha, Kennedy''s Albany, and Bellow''s Chicago.

As much as Lila is a story of neglect, injustice, and impoverishment, it is also one of hope and fulfillment. Lila in Gilead is a much needed confirmation that the best things in the world are as impossible to commodify as they are to rush. Anything worth having, anything that would last comes only with time, only after struggle. While this novel is certainly the most ardently "biblical" of Robinson''s Gilead stories (perhaps it''s a distinction without a difference, but "Gilead"''s frame was more `theological'' than `biblical''), I don''t see it as any real obstacle to fair-minded readers. This is just good storytelling which draws its kerygma from some brilliant, ancient poetry. (If we didn''t know it was from the Old Testament book of Ezekiel, we''d most likely think it was just some strange, obscure, and exhilarating old verse - the kind of thing Marilynne Robinson specializes in.)

Certainly the best description of what the book is about comes from the story itself. It is early on and Lila is considering the course that her life has taken, and she recalls a story the Reverend Ames told of how "...once when there was a storm a bird had flown into the house. He''d never seen one like it. The wind must have carried it in from some far-off place. He opened all the doors and windows, but it was so desperate to escape that for a while it couldn''t find a way out. `It left a blessing in the house,'' he said. `The wildness of it. Bringing the wind inside.''"

In classical Hebrew the word for wind and the word for spirit are the same word - ruakh. With "Lila" Marilynne Robinson has performed a literary trinitarian miracle of sorts; she''s given us three books and in them shown us a father (Gilead), and then a son (Home), and finally Lila, a wild - and would be holy - spirit.

Mirabile visu.
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Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
disappointing
Reviewed in the United States on April 22, 2015
Having read the first two books on Gilead and it''s community, I didn''t expect a lot of story in Lila, but I didn''t expect it to be so boring and repetetive. Marilyn Robinson is a wonderful writer, without doubt, but her books are not for everyone. There is always tension... See more
Having read the first two books on Gilead and it''s community, I didn''t expect a lot of story in Lila, but I didn''t expect it to be so boring and repetetive. Marilyn Robinson is a wonderful writer, without doubt, but her books are not for everyone. There is always tension surrounding the faith of both Reverend Ames and Rev. Boughton and how it affects family members, and I find that interesting. However, I was left wondering exactly what she wanted to tell us in this book. I think Lila, Rev. Ames young wife, represents innocence in the religious sense, and comes to him as an open slate upon which he chooses not to write. She expresses my own thoughts about whether religious contemplation really matters. She asks whether prayer isn''t the same thing as worry. My problem was with the repetitious nature of her narrative, her inner thoughts in almost stream of consiousness form expressing the same ideas over and over. The reader really does get into her head and after all that, I still found her very difficult to relate to. Her obsession with her past, which is revealed in pieces throughout the book, became a bit tiresome to me. There really isn''t much of a story aside from her sad journey to Gilead and Rev. Ames, but there is a love story. Reverend Ames seems rather bland in this book, unlike in Gilead and Home where he is much more alive and provocative. I guess I just don''t think all the fuss about this one is justified.
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Anne
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Heart breaking, tender and sad
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 10, 2016
"Lila" is the third book in this author''s series set in the small American town of Gilead in the 1950s. Lila is married to the much older preacher John Ames who was the subject of the first book "Gilead". This novel is narrated by Lila and she explains how...See more
"Lila" is the third book in this author''s series set in the small American town of Gilead in the 1950s. Lila is married to the much older preacher John Ames who was the subject of the first book "Gilead". This novel is narrated by Lila and she explains how she came to make this marriage and what led her to this position in life - it is not an easy story. Lila was a neglected child who was taken in by a mysterious woman called Doll. The two of them fled the home town and became vagrants, joining with a group of others and seeking work on farms as they moves from one place to another. It was the time of the depression and many people were in severe poverty. The author really makes you feel how fragile their existence was and how reliant they were on others. When Doll is arrested for murder Lila has to make her own way in life without the mother figure on whom she has depended. She finds work in a brothel - making her own place there as a cook and maid because she is not suited for the main activity of the business. The author has no illusions about that type of life and this is clear as she describes what happens to Lila both in the brothel and later as she escapes and lives a precarious life on her own. Parts of this narrative are heartwrenching as Lila loses her mother figure and we begin to realise what Doll has done to preserve the life of this young woman. The book also talks about the slowly developing relationship between Lila and John Ames. How she has to learn to trust and how he has to realise that his attraction to her does not mean that she is not her own person. This is tender and touching and this book adds another dimension to the stories in the two which precede it (I advise reading the books in the correct order although you actually don''t have to as they each make perfect sense on their own). As the book ends you still don''t know what life now has in store for Lila, especially as her husband is frail. Lila is a marvellous character. A woman capable of thought and absolutely formed by everything that has happened to her. She has an ability to survive and a need to love and is strong despite all that has happened to her. The minor characters, as described by Lila, are also complex and mostly driven by their circumstances. The author gives us a true understanding of poverty and what drives people to wander - the story of the boy who Lila finds in her shack is very believable. The difference between Lila and her travelling companions and those who have houses, security and a place in the world is reinforced over and over again by Lila''s experiences. This is a touching. tender and often very sad book. It tells of broken lives and wounded souls as well as those who cannot be healed. Lila is a strong and brilliantly realised character whose voice is one of acceptance and forgiveness. I don''t know if the author has more to say about the inhabitants of Gilead but if she does I really want to hear it.
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Vigilantius
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Marvellous, luminous, a flowing work of literature
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 30, 2019
This is a luminous and flowing work of literature, a real joy to read. The author charts with great sensitivity the tenderness and patience needed to help someone recovering from a traumatic, lonely childhood. Lila is the third in a trilogy of stand-alone novels by...See more
This is a luminous and flowing work of literature, a real joy to read. The author charts with great sensitivity the tenderness and patience needed to help someone recovering from a traumatic, lonely childhood. Lila is the third in a trilogy of stand-alone novels by Robinson, widely regarded as one of America’s finest living writers, and winner of the Pulitzer and Orange Prizes for fiction. The story is delicately told from within the sparse but wide-ranging mind of Lila, an orphan wandering the woods in Ohio in the 1930s. Gradually, she comes to see mercy in the world, as she is cared for, so kindly, by an old preacher who humbly asserts, time and again, that he knows very little, and wants to know what Lila thinks. The writing is extraordinarily exact and imaginative. How can Robinson know so much about what it feels like to be a vagrant, alone in a shed on the edge of a river in dust-bowl America in the middle of the depression? And for this person to be questioning the nature of existence and heaven, yet doing this in striking, measured language which is free of concepts and self-esteem. The story has many edges, and a sharp knife is buried in its midst.
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Radek
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Rather like Gilead, I found this an uneven book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 15, 2015
Rather like Gilead, I found this an uneven book. The first seventy or so pages are absolutely ravishing – beautiful writing, a compelling story and a real sense the author has embarked on a lucid visionary quest. However, then the story lost most of its drive and the theme...See more
Rather like Gilead, I found this an uneven book. The first seventy or so pages are absolutely ravishing – beautiful writing, a compelling story and a real sense the author has embarked on a lucid visionary quest. However, then the story lost most of its drive and the theme became a little monosyllabic. Lila, the feral orphan child searching for identity and a sense of belonging, acquires her grace a little too easily, not surprising as throughout she’s surrounded by idealised characters. There’s no evil in Robinson’s landscape, not even of the petty variety which can so try one’s patience and faith. In this sense it’s more of a fable than a novel with archetypes replacing believable human beings. At times I couldn’t help wishing Toni Morrison had written this novel. No one, after all, is better than her at giving the inarticulate an eloquent poetic voice. In Robinson’s hands the embittering experiences of Lila’s youth remain largely cosmetic. The struggle to overcome them no more difficult really than weeding a neglected garden. It’s a heartwarming vision. No doubt about that. And maybe, if you bumped into someone as wholeheartedly benevolent and generous as Lila’s husband such a happy ending might be possible. Gilead, for me, was charged with dramatic tension by the appearance of wanton malevolence in the narrative; Lila, on the other hand, has only her own demons to oppose and they are eliminated with the predictability of ogres falling in fairy stories. The message perhaps take too much precedence over dramatic tension. It is a lovely hopeful message though.
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piscator
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A compassionate and inspiring novel
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 8, 2017
"Lila" is written from the point of view of a little girl rescued from a neglectful father by an old odd job lady. They travel through Iowa as vagrants, sometimes with other people similarly living hand to mouth.Eventually Lila meets an old preacher and in her...See more
"Lila" is written from the point of view of a little girl rescued from a neglectful father by an old odd job lady. They travel through Iowa as vagrants, sometimes with other people similarly living hand to mouth.Eventually Lila meets an old preacher and in her association with him much of her story then emerges as flashbacks, as she learns to articulate her thoughts. She also learns very slowly to trust, and the patient telling of the story offers a wonderful depiction of simple unaffected goodness- the humility of the preacher and the kindness of strangers. Most of all, the ordinary love of others gives Lila''s own fierce sense of decency a voice that is quite without sentimentality. It is an impressive achievement, less obviously accessible emotionally as "Gilead", but every bit as uncompromising in its presentation of grief, justice and hope.
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Brian Fennell
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Like the curates egg,,good in parts
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 4, 2021
Good descriptions of places which created vivid mind pictures of places . However I found the book very annoying hopping back and forth between times past and present endlessly throughout the book . Many events were depicted very well but overall the writing annoyed me . I...See more
Good descriptions of places which created vivid mind pictures of places . However I found the book very annoying hopping back and forth between times past and present endlessly throughout the book . Many events were depicted very well but overall the writing annoyed me . I feel the editor should have told the writer to cut out lots of rambling material .
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