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 and widower, 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 of itinerant work. Together they crafted a life on the run, living hand-to-mouth with nothing but their sisterly bond and a lucky knife 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 worldview of her husband which paradoxically judges those she loves.
Revisiting the beloved characters and setting of Marilynne Robinson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead and Orange Prize-winning Home, Lila is a moving expression of the mysteries of existence.
”A masterpiece . . . Lila is a superb creation.” Publishers Weekly
”One of the greatest living novelists . . . [Lila is] just as wise, moving and genuine as its predecessors.” Harper’s Bazaar
“The novel is powerful and deeply affecting . . . Ms. Robinson renders [Lila’s] tale with the stark poetry of Edward Hopper or Andrew Wyeth.” Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“Lila is a book whose grandeur is found in its humility. That’s what makes Gilead among the most memorable settings in American fiction . . . Gilead [is] a kind of mythic everyplace, a quintessential national setting where our country’s complicated union with faith, in all its degrees of constancy and skepticism, is enacted.” Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal
“Lila . . . is the highest fictional magic: a character who seems so real, it’s hard to remember that she exists only in the page of this book . . . No writers can see life whole. There’s too much of it, too many sides, to be comprehended by a single vision. But some books give us a sense of such wholeness, and they are precious for it. Lila is such a book.” John Wilson, Chicago Tribune
“Lila, Marilynne Robinson’s remarkable new novel, stands alone as a book to read and even read again. It’s both a multilayered love story and a perceptive look at how early depirvation causes lasting damage . . . Robinson is a novelist of the first order.” Ellen Heltzel, The Seattle Times
“Gorgeous writing, an absolutely beautiful book . . . [a] profound and deeply rendered novel.” David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times
“Radiant . . . [Lila is] a mediation on morality and psychology, compelling in its frankness about its truly shocking subject: the damage to the human personality done by poverty, neglect and abandonment.” Diane Johnson, The New York Times Book Review
“Lila is a dark, powerful, uplifting, unforgettable novel. And Robinson’s Gilead trilogy – Gilead, Home, and Lila – is a great achivement in American fiction.” Bryan Wooley, Dallas Morning News
“Lila’s journey—its darker passages illuminated by Robinson’s ability to write about love and the natural world with grit and graceful reverence—will mesmerize both longtime Robinson devotees and those coming to her work for the first time.” Elle