…Marilynne Robinson’s “Lila,” the most masterful novel I have read in years, profound, deep, moving, insightful, original. It would probably help if you have already read “Gilead” and “Home,” which preceded it in Robinson’s oeuvre; but this is not necessary. Probably it would help if, like Robinson, you were Calvinist; but this isn’t necessary either.
Lila is the woman who appears in “Gilead” seemingly from nowhere. It is her son to whom the letter in “Home” is addressed. (There, I’ve given little away.) Now we have her story. Whether Robinson had some of all of it in mind when she began the trilogy, or whether she decided, Gee, I’d like to figure out where Lila came from, I do not know. Either way the achievement is a remarkable feat of imagination.
Robinson has wrought someone from a devastating past, who has navigated her way through a barely marked, devastating series of “presents,” about which a barely formed but continually forming intelligence seeks understanding and shape but whose completeness remains always in doubt.
Meanwhile we appreciate love, compassion, caring, and the Lord working in mysterious ways.