REVIEW: LILA, BY MARILYNNE ROBINSON

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She was a neglected baby, then she was a rescued toddler. Clutched from the jaws of poverty and fear, she followed along with the woman who rescued her, accepting what was given and what she had to do to survive.

So how can she now be another kind of woman, the wife of the minister in a small town in Iowa called Gilead? How can she be pregnant with his child, fitting into his world, and somehow reconciling her new circumstances with what has gone before?

Lila is the kind of story that meanders from the past to the present, and even takes the reader into an imagined future, as we follow along with the character’s thoughts. What seems like a wonderful place of safety here in Gilead with the minister she has married, and who, through a good part of the book, she is still trying to adjust to, from his very presence to his philosophy on life and on existence, is also a place that arouses fears. Can she fit what she knows of her past into the present and future she is creating? What is the meaning of her existence, and what does her new situation mean about those she left behind?

This novel was challenging to read, since it moved all over the place, bringing some confusion as it did so, but throughout, this reader could sense that the philosophical meanderings of the young woman were bringing her to some kind of resolution. Finally. 4 stars.

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