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Lila

by

Lila Cover

ISBN13: 9780374187613
ISBN10: 0374187614
All Product Details

 


New Favorite

Staff Pick

With Lila, Marilynne Robinson revisits her beloved town of Gilead, just as she did with Home. This time around, her focus is on Lila Ames, who in both previous novels has been a sort of paragon of calm and dignity. In Lila we learn about her childhood and young adulthood, which could not be further from calm or dignified. Lila lives through a childhood that begins in neglect and works its way through unceasing labor, abandonment, and the endless struggle for survival. Unexpectedly arriving in Gilead, Iowa, and meeting the Reverend John Ames, Lila's life is about to take another sharp turn. The Gilead/Home/Lila trilogy, read together, is a gorgeous, layered, nuanced look at small-town America, full of beauty and peace — truly home. Exploring themes of trust, family, rebirth, security, and love, Lila is stunning and beautiful. It's an intricate look at the complexities of the heart.
Recommended by Dianah, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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:

"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. This time the narrative focuses on Lila, the young bride of elderly Reverend Ames, first met in Gilead. Rescued as a toddler from abusive caretakers by a rough but kind drifter named Doll, raised with love but enduring the hard existence of a field worker, and later, in a St. Louis whorehouse, Lila is a superb creation. Largely uneducated, almost feral, Lila has a thirst for stability and knowledge. As she yearns to forget the terrible memories and shame of her past, Lila is hesitant to reveal them to her loving new husband. The courtship of the couple — John Ames: tentative, tender, shy, and awkward; Lila: naive, suspicious, wary, full of dread — will endure as a classic set piece of character revelation, during which two achingly lonely people discover the comfort of marital love. Threaded through the narrative are John Ames's troubled reflections that the doctrines of his Calvinist theology, including the belief that those who are not saved are destined for hell, are too harsh. Though she reads the Bible to gain knowledge, Lila resists its message, because it teaches that her beloved Doll will never gain the peace of heaven. Her questions stir up doubt in Ames's already conflicted mind, and Robinson carefully crafts this provocative and deeply meaningful spiritual search for the meaning of existence. What brings the couple together is a joyous appreciation of the beauty of the natural world and the possibility of grace. The novel ends with the birth of their son, to whom Ames will leave his diary in Gilead." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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

Review:

"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 benefitted her fiction....This is an unflinching book." Joan Acocella, The New Yorker

Review:

"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....Robinson's determination to shed light on...complexities — the solitude that endures inside intimacy, the sorrow that persists beside joy — marks her as one of those rare writers genuinely committed to contradiction as an abiding state of consciousness. Her characters surprise us with the depth and ceaseless wrinkling of their feelings." Leslie Jamison, The Atlantic

Review:

"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

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, New York Review of Books

Review:

"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." Bookforum

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

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, Starred Review

Review:

"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 author of the novels HomeGilead (winner of the Pulitzer Prize), and Housekeeping, and four books of nonfiction, When I Was a Child I Read Books, Mother Country, The Death of Adam, and Absence of Mind. She teaches at the University of Iowa Writers Workshop.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

gopherprairieexile, October 21, 2014 (view all comments by gopherprairieexile)
I believe we are all spiritual beings temporarily occupying (dare I say, being held captive by?)a body, and Marilynne Robinson is the embodiment of that concept brought to its highest possible level. Gilead is a life-altering book if you're paying attention at all, and with Home and now with Lila, Robinson is piecing on to that story, and creating a humble world of decency, thought, acceptance, kindness, depth, intelligence, everything that is missing from a society where people actually have to be told not to text while driving, and still do it anyway. In Home, we learn the story of a character discussed in Gilead but from only one perspective. In Lila, we learn about a character from Gilead who we really didn't know at all. Robinson shows us that each person's story is a novel to be told, even if they only make a modest appearance in someone else's story. If you've read Gilead and then Home and are wondering whether Lila is worth it, wonder no more. If you haven't read these books, what are you waiting for? And don't tell me idk!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Carolyn Ezell Foster, October 9, 2014 (view all comments by Carolyn Ezell Foster)
Although I am usually quite verbal, I have no words adequate to describe Lila, Marilynne Robinson's latest novel, issued by Farrar, Straus and Giroux two days ago (OCTOBER 7, 2014). To the lovely mystery of Gilead and Home, the two works of fiction introducing Lila and the elderly Congregational minister John Ames, Robinson has added another dimension of love in the portrayal of Doll who nurtured Lila in Lila's childhood and youth. Only an author with perceptive imagination, magical genius, and literary grace could have given us such a transcendent story.
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(3 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780374187613
Author:
Robinson, Marilynne
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20141007
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb

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Featured Titles » Literature
Featured Titles » New Favorites » Fiction
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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
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Lila Sale Hardcover
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Product details 272 pages Farrar, Straus and Giroux - English 9780374187613 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

With Lila, Marilynne Robinson revisits her beloved town of Gilead, just as she did with Home. This time around, her focus is on Lila Ames, who in both previous novels has been a sort of paragon of calm and dignity. In Lila we learn about her childhood and young adulthood, which could not be further from calm or dignified. Lila lives through a childhood that begins in neglect and works its way through unceasing labor, abandonment, and the endless struggle for survival. Unexpectedly arriving in Gilead, Iowa, and meeting the Reverend John Ames, Lila's life is about to take another sharp turn. The Gilead/Home/Lila trilogy, read together, is a gorgeous, layered, nuanced look at small-town America, full of beauty and peace — truly home. Exploring themes of trust, family, rebirth, security, and love, Lila is stunning and beautiful. It's an intricate look at the complexities of the heart.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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. This time the narrative focuses on Lila, the young bride of elderly Reverend Ames, first met in Gilead. Rescued as a toddler from abusive caretakers by a rough but kind drifter named Doll, raised with love but enduring the hard existence of a field worker, and later, in a St. Louis whorehouse, Lila is a superb creation. Largely uneducated, almost feral, Lila has a thirst for stability and knowledge. As she yearns to forget the terrible memories and shame of her past, Lila is hesitant to reveal them to her loving new husband. The courtship of the couple — John Ames: tentative, tender, shy, and awkward; Lila: naive, suspicious, wary, full of dread — will endure as a classic set piece of character revelation, during which two achingly lonely people discover the comfort of marital love. Threaded through the narrative are John Ames's troubled reflections that the doctrines of his Calvinist theology, including the belief that those who are not saved are destined for hell, are too harsh. Though she reads the Bible to gain knowledge, Lila resists its message, because it teaches that her beloved Doll will never gain the peace of heaven. Her questions stir up doubt in Ames's already conflicted mind, and Robinson carefully crafts this provocative and deeply meaningful spiritual search for the meaning of existence. What brings the couple together is a joyous appreciation of the beauty of the natural world and the possibility of grace. The novel ends with the birth of their son, to whom Ames will leave his diary in Gilead." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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 benefitted her fiction....This is an unflinching book."
"Review" by , "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....Robinson's determination to shed light on...complexities — the solitude that endures inside intimacy, the sorrow that persists beside joy — marks her as one of those rare writers genuinely committed to contradiction as an abiding state of consciousness. Her characters surprise us with the depth and ceaseless wrinkling of their feelings."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
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