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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Lila by Marilynne Robinson

It was a week of reading trilogies for me.  In the case of this book, it is the final installment.  The first two books, "Gilead" and "Home", were both excellent, and this book is very good, although it is my least favorite of the three (although my spouse really liked it, so it is a matter of taste.  The writing is excellent).

The story includes the preacher, John Ames, who is a constant in all three books, and focuses on his young wife, Lila.  Lila is a furious outsider, a woman with a hard life that included a stint in a St Louis whorehouse. She was rescued as a neglected child by Doll, an old woman who cared for her and took her on the road with a what amounted to a traveling work gang. They toiled in the fields and slept beneath the stars and for a year, while Doll managed to put Lila through school.  Eventually they parted, and Lila, after miserable years alone, found her way by chance to Gilead and an unlikely husband. They each believe that they are unworthy of the other, and in that space they make a life together that is better than either of them is apart.  Lila and Ames are lonely souls, worn out by sadness and suffering, but they learn how to be together and find salvation, of a sort.

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