Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Nick Hornby on Gilead

Housekeeping vs. the Dirt is a book of "books bought/books read" lists and reviews. This is from his review of Marilynne Robinson's book Gilead:

"I didn't even mind that it's essentially a book about Christianity, narrated by a Christian; in fact, for the first time I understood the point of Christianity - or at least, I understood how it might be used to assist thought... I had to reread passages from Gilead several times - beautiful, luminous passages about grace, and debt, and baptism - before I half-understood them, however: there are complicated and striking ideas on every single page.

We all know that the circumstances surrounding the reading of a book are probably every bit as important as the book itself, and I read Gilead at a weird time. I was on a book tour in the U.K., and I was sick of myself and of the sound of my own voice... if anyone were ever in need of the astonishing hush that Marilynne Robinson achieves in her book - how do you do that, in something crafted out of words? - it was I. Caveat emptor, but if you don't like it, then you have no soul."

"Astonishing hush" is the perfect way to describe Gilead...so perfect.

I love Nick Hornby's writing. He makes me laugh and laugh and laugh. And then I read out loud to my husband, laughing even more, and my husband says, "hmmmmm." I guess he is an acquired taste, but he suits me fine.

And that last line, "if you don't like it, then you have no soul"? Well, add that to the quote book. What a handy dandy line to have ready to spring on some unsuspecting soul who has the nerve to disagree with you.

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