Sunday, March 8, 2009
As I Further Reread Gilead
As you may remember, after reading Marilynne Robinson's beautifully written novel, Home, I decided to reread her earlier novel, Gilead. The two quotes below once again illustrate her wonderful writing, which sometimes makes me cry at the sheer beauty of the way the words follow one upon another.
The Reverend Ames writes to his young son:
When people come to speak to me, whatever they say, I am struck by a kind of incandescence in them, the "I" whose predicate can be "love" or "fear" or "want," and whose object can be "something" or "nothing" and it really won't matter, because the loveliness is just in that presence shaped around "I" like a flame on a wick, emanating itself in grief and guilt and joy and whatever else. But quick and avid and resourceful. To see this aspect of life is a privilege of the ministry which is seldom mentioned. p. 44
The Reverend has a bad heart.
So I decided a little waltzing would be very good, and it was. I plan to do all my waltzing here in the study. I have thought I might have a book ready at hand to clutch if I began to experience unusual pain, so that it would have an especial recommendation from being found in my hands. That seemed theatrical, on consideration, and it might have the perverse effect of burdening the book with unpleasant associations. The ones I considered, buy the way, were Donne and Herbert and Barth's "Epistle to the Romans" and Volume II of Calvin's "Institutes". Which is by no means to slight Volume I. p. 115
O my! You might as well read the book before I quote the whole thing here at Wounded Bird.