“It was a very clear night, or morning, very still, and then there was such energy in the things transpiring among those trees, like a storm, like travail.”

RobinsonThis beautiful novel could be a “how to” manual for aspiring writers.  It shows how to have a virtuous central character who is interesting — a rare feat in contemporary literature.  It shows how to structure a novel without using standard architectural tools, such as chapters.  It shows how to build suspense, but to make it invisible.  I think its primary achievement, however, is to do all of this with graceful sentences, such as this one: “An old fire will make a dark husk for itself and settle in on its core, as in the case of the plant.” (72)

Marilynne Roblinson, Gilead (New York: Farrar, Straus  and Giroux, 2004), p. 56-7.

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