Marilynne Robinson’s Lila – The Reluctant Psychoanalyst Reads About Loneliness
Lila is the third (or maybe fourth) book in the Gilead trilogy. I’ve not read the others and found this to be a compelling if emotionally difficult read, but certainly not one that is dependent on having read the other books - it stand nicely on its own. It is an emotionally difficult read because it is so bleak, especially at the beginning where the protagonist is stolen away as a baby from a home where she is not adequately fed, not kept clean, and where she is put outside when she is crying so that she doesn’t disrupt those who are inside. The woman who steals her is a migrant worker who carries her from place to place with a loose band of people who lead a marginal existence until the dustbowl hits, and then things get really bad. At some point, her caregiver, Doll, settles into a town for a year so that Lila can learn to read – something that she is drawn to, but doesn’t get much practice with until she steals a bible from a church – but that is getting to the end of the story, which is also the beginning.