April 13, 2006
"Gilead" By Marilynne Robinson
Just finished reading "Gilead" the Pulitzer Prize winner by Marilynne Robinson.
First of all, I have to admit that I almost put the book down after reading the first twenty pages or so. It's not the kind of book that I would choose to read. I started on this one since I had nothing better to read on my spring break. Religious reads are not among my favorites, and this does happen to be about a preacher in Iowa during the late 50s. I somehow managed to trudge along, reading some twenty odd pages every time I picked up the book. However, after I was about half way through the novel, it suddenly dawned on me that I was now reading the book out of interest, and also that it had stopped mattering to me that the main protagonist was a preacher. The novel had gone beyond an ailing preacher writing a letter to his seven year old son about how he'd grown up in a religious environment. It now brought in various elements of human drama, that between a gun-toting abolitionist father and an ambivalent son; another centered on spousal jealousy in the face of death, yet another between a pacifist father and a questioning son. Conflicts quite universal that are indicative of ideological polarities that exist within American society, and which could draw in any reader regardless of his age, nationality, and his religious affiliation.
A reading that started of as a chore ended up being a 'different' read by the end of it. One particular statement in the novel was rather thought provoking:
''Do you ever wonder why American Christianity seems to wait for the real thinking to be done elsewhere?''