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Lila (2014)

por Marilynne Robinson

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: Gilead (3)

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2,5141135,886 (4.05)282
Abandoning her homeless existence to become a minister's wife, Lila reflects on her hardscrabble life on the run with a canny young drifter and her efforts to reconcile her painful past with her husband's gentle Christian worldview.
  1. 10
    Brooklyn por Colm Tóibín (charl08)
    charl08: In both novels, key character faces new, difficult choices in new places. Both beautifully written, compelling.
  2. 00
    Reflections in a Golden Eye por Carson McCullers (Philosofiction)
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Inglês (106)  Espanhol (2)  Italiano (2)  Holandês (1)  Catalão (1)  Todas as línguas (112)
Mostrando 1-5 de 112 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
This follow up to Gilead is as wonderful as a book could be. ( )
  jemisonreads | Jan 22, 2024 |
I certainly won't detract from my praise for Marilynne Robinson (see my review of Home), but I had a bit more trouble with this third part of the Gilead series. Once again Robinson changes the perspective, now to Lila, the young wife of the much older reverend John Ames. As an orphan she has had a quite poor and eventful childhood, living the life of a vagabond, ending up in a marginal gang, and even in a brothel. The atmosphere in this novel is strongly reminiscent of John Steinbeck, with even explicit references to the Depression and Dust Bowl period (i.e. the 1930s) that is so powerfully drawn in Grapes of Wrath.

During her lonely wanderings, Lila by chance ends up in Gilead, Iowa, and thus inevitably comes into contact with Reverend John Ames, who had lost his wife and child a long while ago and seemed exhausted. Ames and Lila seem like two extremes: he a thoughtful, struggling intellectual, she a rude and bruised orphan girl. Yet a moving dynamic arises between the two; the way they interact is so careful, thoughtful, and tactful that it almost physically hurts to follow. Quite unexpectedly, for both of them, they even get married. Surprising also for the reader, because we constantly see Lila deliberating whether she should move on or not. Even when she becomes pregnant by Ames those doubts remain, and the great thing is that Ames appears to be all too aware of them.

Especially in the second half of the book, Lila continues to muse about her turbulent past, about the dramatic events in it, and about the main characters of that period, especially her surrogate mother Doll. That past continues to pull at her persistently, especially because of the knife she received from Doll, with which the latter had stabbed to death a man who might have been Lila's father. The Calvinist religious-moral framework in which Robinson places her stories obviously plays an important role in all this. From that light, you can see Lila as a kind of Mary Magdalene, who is carefully guided by Ames to the right path, but who also has a moral compass that is so strong that, eventually, she can appreciate the uniqueness of what is happening between them. From Lila's point of view, there is the constant threat of damnation, a pull to evil even, that she actively struggles with. And with that Robinson brings us to territory that is pretty familiar to her.

Once again: this third Gilead part also plays at a very high level in terms of literature, and in terms of content, the sketch of Lila's gradual redemption is particularly existentially relevant. But I did have some difficulty with the structure of this novel: the accumulation of constant flashbacks and streams of consciousness make this book very difficult to read. In 'Home' you still had the sublime dialogues between the protagonists to keep the story bearable, and that is much more lacking here, especially in the second half of the book. Hence my slightly lower rating. But that does not detract from the fact that Robinson with Lila has created a character that, in terms of psychological and existential depth, can compete with the most striking of Greek or Shakespearean tragedies. ( )
1 vote bookomaniac | Jan 12, 2024 |
There are stories and there are story tellers that seem destined for each other. As Robinson spins the tale of Lila, stitching together scenes of her as a child and a woman, and makes her rise from the page, I shook my head with admiration and delight. I devoured the fluid, confident writing with pleasure. Oh, to write so well!

Lila, and each of the characters she meets, spoke to me in unexpected ways of grace and redemption. One more splendid summer read.

Now to talk it all over with another reader. ( )
  rebwaring | Aug 14, 2023 |
Lila is a prequel to Marilynne Robinson's prize-winning novel Gilead; as I read it, I could not shake the feeling that I was missing something because I had not read Gilead first. So I think my rating may be lower than it would be otherwise.

Lila is set in rural Iowa in the Dustbowl period of the '20s. Lila is a stolen child, snatched from outside of a house by drifter Doll. Lila is raised by Doll as part of a wandering group of workers living hand to mouth during the Depression, doing whatever it takes to get by.

Once Lila grows to womanhood she separates from the group and makes her own life. Circumstances bring her to the town of Gilead, where she encounters an old preacher, John Ames, and suggests that he marry her. Ames agrees, and soon a child is on the way.

One of my demurrals about this book is that I could never really identify a good reason why Ames would want to marry Lila; possibly this is covered in Gilead, but I don't think that Robinson makes his acceptance of her proposal convincing, given the complications that it clearly involves.

The great thing about Lila is how well Robinson gives a voice to her undereducated heroine without making her seem either unrealistically sophisticated or excessively dumb. It's a very true to life narrative voice, bolstered by Lila's talismanic knife, her only connection with the wandering life that she would like to leave behind, but is never quite certain that she has.
( )
  gjky | Apr 9, 2023 |
Lila is for me the last book in the Gilead series which is certainly one of the canons of American literature. I tend to enjoy novelist who revisit their characters or settings. Some of my favorites include Harry Angstrom of the Rabbit novels, Elizabeth Strout's Olive and Lucy Barton, Sully from Russo's Bath novels and maybe include Jennifer Egan's revisit of the Good Squad. It's like returning home from a long trip. With Robinson even she doesn't worry about chronologically charting her characters so I don't think reading Lila after Jack is not a problem; each novel reveals little insights into the history of the Ames and Broughton families from Iowa. Perhaps there is still room for Broughton's son who is becoming a doctor.
In this wonderful novel we learn about how Lila, neglected as a baby, is stolen by Doll who acts as her mother while they wander about looking for work and trying to survive. Doll teaches Lila the difference between them and the real poor: "the ones who never touched a comb to their hair and who always had shadows of grimne on their necks and wore unmended clothes till they were falling off them’. " They travel for a time with another family until the Crash of '29 when work ended. Robinson takes the entire narrative to gradually reveal some parts of Lila's history, especially an unhappy stay inn St. Louis, but her chance encounter of stopping in the Reverend Ames's church will change both their lives forever. "He looked as if he’d had his share of loneliness, and that was all right. It was one thing she understood about him."
"It felt very good to have him walking beside her. Good like rest and quiet, like something you could live without but you needed anyway. That you had to learn how to miss, and then you'd never stop missing it.”
The relationship between the two is immensely satisfying as it is revealed in snippets of conversations and gestures. The writing is thoughtful, forcing the reader to slow down and savor the use of language. Highly recommend all of her novels.

Lines:
I was working in a whorehouse because the woman who stole me when I was a child got blood all over my clothes when she came to my room after she killed my father in a knife fight. I've got her knife here in my garter. I was meaning to steal a child for myself, but I missed the chance and I couldn't stand the disappointment, so I got a job cleaning in a hotel.

That sound of settling into the sheets and the covers has to be one of the best things in the world. Sleep is a mercy. You can feel it coming on, like being swept up in something.

She knew better than to waste that time. There isn't always someone who wants you singing to him or nibbling his ear or brushing his cheek with a dandelion blossom. Somebody who knows when you're being silly, and laughs and laughs. So long as he was little enough to carry, she could hardly bring herself to put him down.

She thought, If I’m crazy, I may as well do what I feel like doing. No point being crazy if you have to worry all the time about what people are thinking anyway.

She thought, if we stay here, soon enough it will be you sitting at the table and me, I don't know, cooking something, and the snow flying, and the old man so glad we're here he'll be off in his study praying about it. And geraniums in the window. Red ones. ( )
  novelcommentary | Jan 12, 2023 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 112 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
With Lila, Marilynne Robinson completes her mythic cycle, this intimate portrait of an imaginary town filled with very real people. Like her forebears James Joyce, William Faulkner and William Kennedy, among others, Robinson has created a world unto itself, as cleanly evoked as Dublin, Yoknapatawpha County or Albany; only in Robinson’s case, her alternate universe is one of the blessed places of the earth.
adicionada por zhejw | editarAmerica, Angela Alaimo O'Donnell (Apr 27, 2015)
 
You don’t need an ounce of faith to be stunned and moved by Lila. God has never been so attractive as he is in Robinson’s depiction, but her heart is with the human experience, in all its forms. Lila and Ames are lonely souls, worn out by sadness and suffering, but they learn how to be together and find salvation, of a sort. Robinson writes Lila in a mystifyingly impressive amalgam of recollection and spontaneously unfolding thought. Sometimes you feel the ideas are being born fresh on the page, and yet they also contain a depth of thinking and feeling that only years of work can summon. Taken together, with Lila as the culmination, these books will surely be read and known in time as one of the great achievements of contemporary literature. An embarrassingly grand statement for such gentle, graceful work.
adicionada por zhejw | editarThe Guardian, Sophie Elmhirst (Oct 12, 2014)
 
Robinson shakes her finger at whoever she thinks needs to learn a lesson. I’m not saying that great novelists haven’t done this before (see “War and Peace”), only that it didn’t necessarily benefit their work. Robinson writes about religion two ways. One is meliorist, reformist. The other is rapturous, visionary. Many people have been good at the first kind; few at the second kind, at least today.

The second kind is Robinson’s forte.
adicionada por melmore | editarThe New Yorker, Joan Acocella (Oct 6, 2014)
 
Robinson’s determination to shed light on these complexities—the solitude that endures inside intimacy, the sorrow that persists beside joy—marks her as one of those rare writers genuinely committed to contradiction as an abiding state of consciousness. Her characters surprise us with the depth and ceaseless wrinkling of their feelings.
adicionada por melmore | editarThe Atlantic, Leslie Jamison (Sep 17, 2014)
 

» Adicionar outros autores (8 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Robinson, Marilynneautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Hoffman, MaggieNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Kampmann, EvaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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Gilead (3)

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Mirmanda (134)
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The child was just there on the stoop in the dark, hugging herself against the cold, all cried out and nearly sleeping.
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What could the old man say about all those people born with more courage than they could find a way to spend and then there was nothing to do with it but just get by?
And the old man did look as though every blessing he had forgotten to hope for had descended on him all at once, for the time being.
He was happier than he wanted her to see, relieved even though he knew it was too soon to trust that they were safe yet, and worried that he was too ready to be happy and relieved. After breakfast he set a little glass bowl on the porch railing to catch some snow as it fell, and when he saw it had stopped falling, he took the bowl out to the rosebushes to pluck snow that had caught in the brambles. He brought it inside and set it on the windowsill so the sun would melt it. It was pretty the way the light made kind of a little flame, floating in the middle of the water, burning away in there cold as could be. It was for christening the child, she knew without asking. If the child came struggling into the world, that water would be ready for him. If it had to be his only blessing, then it would be a pure and lovely blessing. That was the old man getting ready to make the best of the worst that could happen. Not my will but thine. In his sermons he was always reminding himself of that prayer.
You are right not to talk. It's a sort of higher honesty, I think. Once you start talking, there's no telling what you'll say (p. 20).
Clean an acceptable. It would be something to know what that felt like, even for an hour or two (p. 67)
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Abandoning her homeless existence to become a minister's wife, Lila reflects on her hardscrabble life on the run with a canny young drifter and her efforts to reconcile her painful past with her husband's gentle Christian worldview.

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