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Book - 2014 | First edition
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Lila, homeless and alone after years of roaming the countryside, steps inside a small-town Iowa church -- the only available shelter from the rain -- and ignites a romance and a debate that will reshape her life. She becomes the wife of a minister, John Ames, and begins a new existence while trying to make sense of the days of suffering that preceded her newfound security. Neglected as a toddler, Lila was rescued by Doll, a canny young drifter, and brought up by her in a hardscrabble childhood. Together they crafted a life on the run, living hand-to-mouth with nothing but their sisterly bond and a ragged blade to protect them. But despite bouts of petty violence and moments of desperation, their shared life is laced with moments of joy and love. When Lila arrives in Gilead, she struggles to harmonize the life of her makeshift family and their days of hardship with the gentle Christian worldview of her husband that paradoxically judges those she loves.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780374187613
Call Number: FICTION ROBINSON 2014
Characteristics: 261 pages ; 22 cm


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Jun 08, 2021

An excellent read.

Sep 22, 2020

Book 3 of 4 of her Pulitzer Prize winning Gilead series, Lila seemed very different from the first two. Every other main character in Gilead grew up in a very religious home, both fathers being small-town preachers in the same rural Iowa town. Not Lila. Lila grew up an orphaned drifter, really, born during the Dust Bowl. She roamed (dangerously) from town to town with her ragtag band of day laborers. She had one formal year of schooling in her entire life, when one of those drifters, her maternal figure, Doll, somehow got her in a school for a year so she could learn to read.

Living on the road like she did, with no parents, no home, not even a real name, is one type of an education. She drifts into Gilead and meets Rev. Ames, probably 40 years her senior, had an entirely different education, in all the ways that ‘education’ can be used. But the conversations they have about life, death, the afterlife, and why bad things happen to good people over the next 200+ pages was rich. Robinson examined Ames’s (and her?) Calvinist leanings through the lens of Lila’s hard-learned wisdom about retribution, forgiveness, and eternity, and while I am a man who couldn’t possibly be more turned off by evangelical dogma, the love that Rev. Ames and Lila showed each other through these conversations was quite inspiring. I’m eagerly awaiting the fourth installment of this series, Jack, to be published next month. (Since all my other Gilead books are paperbacks, I’ll have to read a library copy of Jack and then buy a paperback when those become available.)

I highly recommend this one, but either don’t read it until you’ve read Gilead, or PROMISE ME that you’ll read Gilead after you read it.

May 05, 2020

This is the 4th book

Jun 23, 2019

This book, Lila, actually stands as the 3rd book of Marilynne Robinson's Gilead series.
Book 1, title of Gilead, pub yr 2004: book 2 of title Home, yr 2008, and Lila, book 3, yr 2014.

Her novel, Gilead, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction Best Book in year 2005.

LILA -- I had not read the first and second book in the series when I read Lila. Lila is an emotionally intense story, written in a literary style rather unfamiliar to a fiction reader. The style of the sentences, paragraphs, pages, give a momentum to Lila telling her story.

Robinson teaches at the famous University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. She has also published 9 theme based nonfiction titles.
Robinson has either been nominated for, or won, eleven recognitions by highly acclaimed prize granting organization, for her writing, thru yr 2016.

Please consider reading at least one of Robinson's novels.

RogerDeBlanck Jul 27, 2018

With her previous two novels, Gilead and Home, Marilynne Robinson established a standard of literary greatness that she once again sustains for with her novel, Lila. The three books now comprise a type of trilogy on spirituality involving the small town of Gilead, Iowa and chronicling the memorable lives of John Ames, his close friend Boughton, both their families, and John’s wife Lila. In addition, the three books breathtakingly expound upon the power of faith, compassion, and love. Indeed, Robinson’s novels are profound and enlightening experiences.

In Lila, the focus is on the title character, who eventually becomes the much younger wife of the seventy-year-old minister, John Ames. Before Lila’s marriage to Ames, her tough upbringing is illuminated with heartfelt vividness as she grows up on the margins of society alongside a woman named Doll. The two struggle to survive while Doll nurtures Lila like a daughter. No one delves the human heart and the challenges of pain, sorrow, and loneliness quite like Robinson. She tackles human suffering and redirects the plight of individuals towards a peace in life that can be found through the vitality of prayer and grace.

Abounding with wisdom and beauty, Lila is another fine achievement for Robinson. For a reader discovering her work for the first time, one may choose to start with Gilead and Home before venturing forward with Lila. In order to gain the extraordinary impact these books intend to deliver, reading them in order may be the best scenario.

LPL_TriciaK Mar 27, 2017

If you want a book that rocks you to your core, this is it. Marilynn Robinson take you deep into the human experience, with an exploration of what it means to be without safety in emotional and physical terms. The main character, Lila, is a witness for what happens to people on the edge of existence, and what it means when someone throws a lifeline.

Feb 13, 2017

Sadly this book was tedious to follow. Although the narrator is a poorly educated woman, Lila, much of the writing reads like John Ame's prose in Gilead. She has used the same writing style for this new main character and this gives me the idea that Ms. Robinson is tethered to one sort of voice

Dec 09, 2016

This book kept me on the edge of my seat as it rocked me peacefully on a sea of deep emotion.

Nov 27, 2016

Pretty good read. Some of it can be long winded. Book left me feeling humbled with a sense of gratitude for life.

annobooks Dec 03, 2015

Lyric at times but also a bit of a slog.

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Jan 31, 2015

50Gretchen thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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