Just as Home, a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award in Fiction, has been called a companion to Gilead, this post is a companion to yesterday’s. Prompted by comments, I wanted to add that if you enjoyed Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson‘s first novel, you might enjoy Home, her latest. In style of writing, Home more closely resembles Housekeeping, rather than the epistolary slowness of Gilead. And in sensibility, compare these two passages:
From Home: “Glory went up to the attic, the limbo of things that had been displaced from current use but were not in the strict sense useless…Other pious families gave away the things they did not need. Boughtons put them in the attic, as if to make an experiment of doing without them before they undertook some irreparable act of generosity.”
From Housekeeping: “Who would think of dusting or sweeping the cobwebs down in a room used for the storage of cans and newspapers–things utterly without value? Sylvie only kept them, I think, because she considered accumulation to be the essence of housekeeping, and because she considered the hoarding of worthless things to be proof of a particularly scrupulous thrift.”
And notice the covers–and here I admit I often judge a book by its cover–at least for the few seconds before I open it. See the curtained window on each. See how Paul is the only Beatle in bare feet.
I wonder if Robinson’s next novel might not take us inside another person’s home in the same place and the same time. In other words, I wonder how many ways she can tell the same story, which is in fact not the same story. And with each telling, if she will manage to show how a story we thought complete was in fact not.
I think you were kind to refer to the “epistolary slowness” of Gilead. I really didn’t like it, and I had to make myself finish it because my daughter loved it so much. I thought it was one of the slowest books I had ever read, and I could never see what she saw in it. I might try reading Home though.