Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

Lila, by Marilynne Robinson

Identifying the second paragraph of the third section (there are no chapters) was not completely straightforward. The various sections are set off with blank lines between them; the third section thus set off has only one paragraph! But the second section is split at one point by a horizontal line, at the top of a page, so I'm taking that as a sign that it's meant to be a section break. The second paragraph following the horizontal line, you'll be fascinated to know, is:
There was an ache in the child's throat because she wanted to say, I guess i left my rag baby back there at the house. I guess I did. She knew exactly where, under the table in the farthest corner, propped against the table leg like ti was sitting there. She could just run in the door and snatch it and run off again. No one would have to see her. But then maybe Doll wouldn't be here when she came back, and she didn't know where tat house was anyway. She thought of the woods. It was just an old rag baby, dirty from her hand, because mostly she kept it with her. But they put her out on the stoop before she could get it and the cats wouldn't even let her touch them and then Doll came and she didn't know they would be leaving, she didn't understand that at all. So she just left it where it was. She never meant to.
This is the latest in the sequence of novels which started with Gilead and continued with Home - not a sequel as such, because all three books cover the same time period, but seen from another perspective. This time it is the turn of Lila, the much younger wife of the clergyman John Ames who was the central character in Gilead. It's an extended character study of someone finding stability and not quite daring to trust it, with some extended flashbacks explaining who she is and where she has come from, in the leisurely detailed implicit way that we had in the previous books, but this time finding an authentic voice for Lila in words that feel like hers - much more authentic than, say, The Red Badge of Courage. A very good book; interesting that Robinson waited until the third in the series to give a female character the central spot.
Tags: bookblog 2016, writer: marilynne robinson
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