Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fantastic Filigree

I haven't read the reviews of Marilynne Robinson's new novel Home yet since I've been writing one myself for, a new(ish) arts and culture website run by Iowa City publisher Loren Keller. Loren has been so kind to let me write about books for the site, and has started me off with Iowa City's grand dame of fiction, who has written a follow-up to her Pulitzer prize-winning epistolary novel Gilead.

Robinson's books are small on plot, large on revelatory detail, which makes reading them a slog if you're not into that kind of thing. What I responded to most in the book were the scenes in which the family suffers through dinners as polite strangers tainted by familial closeness. Here's an excerpt from the review:

"She deftly strings up scenes of familial tension, as if they were pants on a clothesline, playfully stringing more dirty laundry up in one scene while letting the line wave free and lax in the next."

My new Robinson rankings are 1).Housekeeping 2). Home 3). Gilead.


HENDU said...

What do you think of her non-fiction? I recommend The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought and Mother Country.

Emily said...

I haven't read any of her nonfiction yet. I know her essay collection was really well-received -- it was mentioned often in the reviews of Gilead that harped so long and hard on the long gestation time for that novel. I'll have to check it out.