Gilead

I’m reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. It had been on my TBR list without any memory on my part of why I put it there. I often don’t like to know anything at all about a book before I read it. I won’t even read the inside flap.

By page 51, I was sobbing.

Stories touch in us many ways.

There’s the touch of a stranger on the bus. A knee tap, a shoulder brush.

There’s the co-worker in the hallway. You both go left and then right, and then left again, and one of you says, “Shall we dance?” with a laugh. That isn’t even a physical touch, but still a shared connection of coincidence and humanity.

This book is more like when your spouse opens their arms, and you step into their shadow and scaffolding, and feel both safe and vulnerable at once. And you suddenly remember it won’t last. It can’t. You are a moment. But that moment is everything.

There are a lot of you who will read this book and shrug, “What’s the big deal?”

Maybe it’s my life-long fascination with death. Not death, really. More the act of dying. The minute-by-minute loss that is only best appreciated in the minute-by-minute living.

There is a fierce joy in that.

Anyway, this book is alternately submerging me and lifting my head out of the water to see the sun and feel the breeze. It’s amazing, and even though I’m only halfway done reading it, I recommend you pick it up. I’m astounded it’s fiction.

Caveat: I would not recommend reading this if you have recently lost someone you love.

 

 

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