Writing about loneliness is surely one of those tricks that should come with the warning “Do not attempt this at home.” Often, descriptions of loneliness trigger disengagement. It takes a master, such as Marilynne Robinson, to write a novel about loneliness that’s a page-turner. In an interview, when asked why she writes about ‘the problem of loneliness,’ she replied “It’s not a problem. It’s a condition. It’s a passion of a kind. It’s not a problem.” Perhaps that perspective contributes to the success of this work, which one reviewer said is “one of the saddest books I have ever loved.”
Marilynne Robinson, Home (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008), 85.