Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson: A Review

Wow. What a book. I’m absolutely blown away. I haven’t read a story so elegantly written and yet so homely and comfortable. Gilead is theologically rich and so very personal and simple. It tugs the heart and helps the imagination find new heights. It preaches without words. It is a book that holds you even when you think you are holding it.

Gilead is the best thing I’ve read in a long time.

I unsay everything I said on Wednesday about the tired trope of the clergyman. Marilynne Robinson has written the unwrite-able book, and did so with grace and authenticity.

Anything is possible now.

About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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23 Responses to Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson: A Review

  1. Doug Todd says:

    Is there balm in Gilead?


  2. Marillynne Robinson is a truth-teller and a lover of humanity in equal measure. There are few like her.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Peggy Printz says:

    Love, love love this book. If you haven’t already, read the other 2 books also set in the same small town. the newest is Lila, which I will be reading very soon; the other, I believe, is “Home”. she also writes interesting and thought-provoking essays. the latest collection, “When I was a child I read books”, my local CS Lewis group is reviewing next month. (we’ve been together so long we’ve reviewed almost all his writings and are now getting into books by other Inklings, books that Lewis loved, authors inspired by Lewis, and newer authors who tackle similar subjects.)


    • I have read Housekeeping but not Home or Lila. Housekeeping was a much different kind of piece, but both are biblical echoes I think.
      I love the essay series and have assigned one of the pieces to students, though they found it a struggle.
      You are right that there is something we can identify as a Lewis Pattern in work, though he wouldn’t have been the first. I’m reading Chesterton’s “Short History of England” and just bumbled into the phrase “the Great Divorce”–he had some influence on Lewis, and did that upside-down culture engagement thing.


  4. jubilare says:

    Don’t unsay all you said! You left allowances for well-drawn and well-used examples.


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