Monday, May 7, 2007

back to fiction

after a month of reading lots of theology and non-fiction stuff, i went to the library yesterday desperate to get a good book of literature. i love reading fiction and this stretch has been the longest in recent years that i haven't been taken in night after night by a story.  i brought home "gilead" by marilynne robinson. it is an eloquently written book - a letter from a father to his son before he dies.  maybe it's like coming off a fast when a saltine cracker tastes like heaven, (of course this book is no saltine cracker - winner of the pulitzer prize in 2005), but this was my experience of its opening paragraph:

"I told you last night that I might be gone sometime, and you said, Where, and I said, To be with the Good Lord, and you said, Why, and I said, Because I'm old, and you said, I don't think you're old.  And you put your hand in my hand and you said, You aren't very old, as if that settled it.  I told you you might have a very different life from mine, and from the life you've had with me, and that would be a wonderful thing, there are many ways to live a good life.  And you said, Mama already told me that.  And then you said, Don't laugh! because you thought I was laughing at you.  You reached up and put your fingers on my lips and gave me that look I never in my life saw on any other face besides your mother's.  It's a kind of furious pride, very passionate and stern.  I'm always a little surprised to find my eyebrows unsinged after I've suffered one of those looks.  I will miss them."

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