Thursday, January 05, 2017

feb 8-10 | marilynne robinson | regent college laing lectures

Marilynne Robinson: Considering the Theological Virtues
The 2007 Laing Lectures
Faith | Feb 8
Hope | Feb 9
Love | Feb 10
All lectures are held in The Frederic Wood Theatre, UBC, and begin at 7:30
Tickets are free of charge, but must be reserved online in advance. Don't delay; the event will sell out.

One of the finest books I ever read is Marilynne Robinson's Gilead (2004). I thought so when I read it years ago, and re-reading it now in anticipation of her Laing Lecture series in February I remember just how good it is. As eager as I am to get to Home (2008) and Lila (2014), I'm not rushing things. This is a novel to be savoured; sometimes I think I should just read the whole thing aloud to myself.

How about this passage:

"It was one day as I listened to baseball that it occurred to me how the moon actually moves, in a spiral, because while it orbits the earth it also follows the orbit of the earth around the sun. This is obvious, but the revelation pleased me. There was a full moon outside my window, icy white in a blue sky, and the Cubs were playing Cincinnati."

The book won the Pulitzer Prize. Home, her next novel, focuses on a secondary character in that book, and was a finalist for the National Book. Lila (2014) revisits the same town and people as the first two novels, and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her first novel, Housekeeping, won the Hemingway Foundation / PEN Award, and was short-listed for the Pulitzer.

Robinson has also published several collections of shorter non-fiction pieces. The most recent, The Givenness of Things, includes the widely praised essay "Fear" that was first published in The New York Review of Books.

In November 2015, Barack Obama interviewed Marilynne Robinson for the New York Review of Books. (Not the other way around. I wonder if this is the first time a writer was interviewed by a sitting President). This substantial conversation can be read online (Part One and Part Two).

1 comment:

Karl Petersen said...

Completely agree with Ron. One of the best writers I've had the pleasure of reading, with Gilead as one of the best novels. Few authors can achieve this most difficult of tasks -- marrying the sacred and transcendent with the mundane and temporal.