Lila

Lila

Book - 2014
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Marilynne Robinson, one of the greatest novelists of our time, returns to the town of Gilead in an unforgettable story about a girl who 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 and widower, John Ames, and begins a new existence while trying to make sense of the days of suffering 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 of itinerant work. Together they crafted a life on the run, living hand-to-mouth with nothing but their sisterly bond and a lucky knife to protect them. But despite bouts of petty violence and moments of desperation, their shared life is laced with moments of joy and love. When Lila arrives in Gilead, she struggles to harmonize the life of her makeshift family and their days of hardship with the gentle worldview of her husband which paradoxically judges those she loves. Revisiting the beloved characters and setting of Marilynne Robinson's Pulitzer Prize-winning GILEAD and Orange Prize-winning HOME, LILA is a moving expression of the mysteries of existence.
Publisher: London : Virago Press, 2014.
ISBN: 9781844088812
Characteristics: 261 p. ; 22 cm.

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RogerDeBlanck Jul 27, 2018

With her previous two novels, Gilead and Home, Marilynne Robinson established a standard of literary greatness that she once again sustains for with her novel, Lila. The three books now comprise a type of trilogy on spirituality involving the small town of Gilead, Iowa and chronicling the memorable lives of John Ames, his close friend Boughton, both their families, and John’s wife Lila. In addition, the three books breathtakingly expound upon the power of faith, compassion, and love. Indeed, Robinson’s novels are profound and enlightening experiences.

In Lila, the focus is on the title character, who eventually becomes the much younger wife of the seventy-year-old minister, John Ames. Before Lila’s marriage to Ames, her tough upbringing is illuminated with heartfelt vividness as she grows up on the margins of society alongside a woman named Doll. The two struggle to survive while Doll nurtures Lila like a daughter. No one delves the human heart and the challenges of pain, sorrow, and loneliness quite like Robinson. She tackles human suffering and redirects the plight of individuals towards a peace in life that can be found through the vitality of prayer and grace.

Abounding with wisdom and beauty, Lila is another fine achievement for Robinson. For a reader discovering her work for the first time, one may choose to start with Gilead and Home before venturing forward with Lila. In order to gain the extraordinary impact these books intend to deliver, reading them in order may be the best scenario.

LPL_TriciaK Mar 27, 2017

If you want a book that rocks you to your core, this is it. Marilynn Robinson take you deep into the human experience, with an exploration of what it means to be without safety in emotional and physical terms. The main character, Lila, is a witness for what happens to people on the edge of existence, and what it means when someone throws a lifeline.

c
cheriemoses
Feb 13, 2017

Sadly this book was tedious to follow. Although the narrator is a poorly educated woman, Lila, much of the writing reads like John Ame's prose in Gilead. She has used the same writing style for this new main character and this gives me the idea that Ms. Robinson is tethered to one sort of voice

j
joyfulheart82
Dec 09, 2016

This book kept me on the edge of my seat as it rocked me peacefully on a sea of deep emotion.

l
lb9034367
Nov 27, 2016

Pretty good read. Some of it can be long winded. Book left me feeling humbled with a sense of gratitude for life.

annobooks Dec 03, 2015

Lyric at times but also a bit of a slog.

h
haileyj
Nov 21, 2015

The writing reminded me of William Faulkner's writing style: very, very poor itinerant folks who are uneducated but not ignorant. They live the only life they've known with no idea of how to improve their lives. Each day is a struggle to find food and shelter and avoid danger. The story between Doll and Lila is heartfelt and loving and yet you sense that all will not end well for either of them. Lila finds John to love her and protect her, yet one has the sense all the way through the story that Lila might just disappear from his life any day. It would have been easier to read if the story had been parceled into chapters. It was somewhat grueling to read.

l
LDPBLM
Oct 07, 2015

This is an extraordinary work - It is compelling in it' s honesty and sensitive presentation . I'm in love with John Ames

d
DorisWaggoner
Aug 29, 2015

This slow, thoughtful, at times agonizing book is even better than its predecessors. An honest view of Lila's life, a dreadful childhood that both scars her and provides a sense of wonder. Abandonment, more than once, leads to a lack of trust, so that once she meets "the old man" and they marry, she can trust enough to tell him so. Yet eventually, they are happy together, especially when their son is born. This book is in a sense the backstory of "Gilead" but a wonderful read on its own. While it might be "easier" if you know the biblical references, its wisdom is accessible even if the reader rejects the theology. The point here is relationships, however they are based. Robinson is an incredibly wonderful writer.

r
racheldm
Aug 12, 2015

I am in awe of Robinson's subtle prose. Her characters are luminously real. The absence of chapter breaks can make this novel a challenge to read at times, but it is definitely worth the effort.

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50Gretchen
Jan 31, 2015

50Gretchen thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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