This 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.