Books: On Her Time

Marilynne Robinson's second novel--finally

This month, Marilynne Robinson will publish Gilead (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; 247 pages), her second novel, 23 years after publishing her first. That book, Housekeeping, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and won the PEN/Hemingway Award. It is a mainstay of book clubs and lists of the best novels of the 20th century. The anticipation of Robinson's follow-up has been urgent, loud and public. In 2001 even her pastor weighed in. "She seems not to be applying herself to using that gift as much as I hope she would," the Rev. Bruce Fischer told a local newspaper.

The interval had nothing...

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