I have often imagined similarly

It was on the nights I didn’t sleep at all and I didn’t feel like reading that I’d walk through town at one or two o’clock.  In the old days I could walk down every single street, past every house, in about an hour.  I’d try to remember the people who lived in each one, and whatever I knew about them, which was often quite a lot…  And I’d pray for them.  And I’d imagine peace they didn’t expect and couldn’t account for descending on their illness or their quarreling or their dreams.

from Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

I have stopped trying to figure out how or why prayer works.  Since I’ve given up that pondering, I’ve prayed a lot more;  it doesn’t have to have as much… figuring behind it anymore;  I just pray.  I have a lot more enjoyment in prayer, now, too, since I’ve stopped angsting about it.

Gilead is the slowest-to-read novel that I’ve ever enjoyed.  I find it very interesting, but as of yet, not very compelling.  “Compelling” in the “hard to put down” sense.  On the contrary, it’s easy to put down;  it has a lot of natural stopping places.  Yet, when I pick it up again, I always enjoy what I read, so it’s not as if I don’t like it.  Reading the book has almost been an excercise in slow thoughtfulness, in the enjoyment of quiet things, and easily-missed details..  It’s not a book one can skim, not a book to read quickly at all.  Still.  I’ve been reading it for about two and a half weeks, and am only on page 73, and I read from it virtually every day.  That’s pretty darn slow. 

When I started reading it, I didn’t realize it had won the Pulitzer Prize for 2005;  I just learned that a week ago or so. 


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on November 27, 2007, in Books I'm Reading, Christian Living, Christianity, God/Christianity/Church, Introspective Musings. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I read her ‘Housekeeping’ book last year (?) and really enjoyed it. Parts of it were really slow too, but like yours, easy to put down and pick up again. A mulling type of book.

    Hope you can stick it ’til the end. 🙂

  2. I love Gilead, even more than Housekeeping. Had a similar reading experience to yours, and now reread bits at random when I need a little encouragement. She has a book of essays as well that I haven’t been able to get through.

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