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اثر مریلین رابینسون از انتشارات قطره - مترجم: مرجان محمدی-برندگان جوایز ادبی

شخصیت‌های سه‌گانه‌ی داستانی رابینسون یعنی «خانه»، «گیلیاد» و «لی‌لا» با یکدیگر دارای ارتباط هستند و زندگی آن‌ها در کنار یکدیگر تعریف شده است. در رمان گیلیاد ما با یک کشیش مواجهیم که در سن میان‌سالی و بسیار دیر ازدواج کرده و در شهری خیالی به نام گیلیاد ساکن است و برای پسرش نامه می‌نویسد. در ‌لی‌لا روایت زندگی همسر این کشیش بازگو می‌شود؛ از کودکی و سختی‌های بزرگ شدنش در طول زمان تا آشنایی و ازدواج با کشیش؛


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The last book in the Gilead trilogy, and the most unconventional because of the choosing of an outcast as a protagonist. Lila is an orphan, hard-edged, uneducated, a creature that survived the rough conditions of her first years against all odds. Shielded by Doll, the enigmatic woman who saved her life as a baby, Lila pushes through in Dickensian conditions; hunger, loneliness and all kind of picaresque penuries paint her unusual story reminding the reader of the most celebrated works by Steinbeck where a constant drip of nomads sprinkled the countryside trying to escape the Great Depression.

Lila can’t be defined by social standards; she is a free spirit, a wanderer not bound by the restrictions of propriety or language, she is guided by instinct and mistrust and knows very little of the rituals in communities. So when she appears in John Ames’ church in Gilead on a Sunday morning, wrenched and freezing, it seems exceedingly improbable that the two might bond. And yet they do. This is the magic of this novel; the quiet conversations that transpire between these two essentially different individuals, a religious, highly educated old man and an illiterate young woman whose wisdom comes from the wilderness, the dusty prairies and gushing rivers.
Little by little, and avoiding any inkling of romanticism, Lila and Ames knit a complex tapestry of philosophical meditations on guilt, redemption, existence, and love.

Even though Lila and Ames had been extremely lonely and locked in themselves in their own way for years when they finally meet, the ability to withstand solitude is precisely what manages to keep them together. Lila embraces Ames’ world and his faith and is therefore “saved”, but she continues fantasizing about the uncertainty of living day to day in the margins of society with no shelter and only the sky and the stars as witnesses to her mute thoughts. I did admire her for remaining her true self in spite of the immersion into Ames spritual vision.
That is the image I want to preserve of this final instalment. Lila’s earthly hymn to geraniums and violets that bloom in the countryside; her clean, plain face washed off misdirected self-punishment, finally learning to trust, finally daring to hope.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
2.5 stars

This book is written with the most beautiful and elegant prose and for the first few few pages I really was enjoying the book but sadly the structure of the novel didnt work for me.

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.

Firstly I listened to this book on audio and while the narrator was excellent I found the writing style very repetitive and laboured. The story is told from different perspectives and I found it difficult to follow and the flow too interrupted. There is a very strong religious theme in this novel and it certainly belonged in the stroy but I found it a little much at times and again I think if I had read the book I would have understood it more and perhaps enjoyed it better. I was going to switch to paper format halfways through the stroy but did not love the subject matter enough to purchase another book. I did finish the novel and was glad I struck with it because
the prose is beautiful and poetic but for me this one just didnt float my boat.

This book has great reviews and I am certainly singing from a different hymn sheet on this one.


مشاهده لینک اصلی
There is something about the character Lila that I connected to in a big way. How she came to Gilead and married to a preacher is a story that is both poignant and life confirming. She is such a diverse character, wise yet naïve, suspicious yet giving, always thinking and searching for answers.

Reading about her young life, her life as a traveler, going wherever Doll, the woman who took her, needed to go in order to find work. Loved the character of Doll, the wise old woman who had such a tough life yet took a little girl in order to save and protect her. Such hard lives, especially during the depression when all work literally dried up, leaving little recourse for, those who lived on the road, going from place to place. Eventually Lila would find her way alone to Gilead, with a past she didnt want to speak of, but thought of often. She would find comfort sitting in the church and would find her way to the scriptures, looking for a reason for her own existence.

Loved this story, the writing and descriptions are just beautiful and serve to balance the sometimes ugliness of Lilas journey. I read Gilead a while ago and now want to re-read as I feel after reading this novel I will have a different perspective.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
Rather like Gilead, I found this an uneven book. The first seventy or so pages are absolutely ravishing – beautiful writing, a compelling story and a real sense the author has embarked on a lucid visionary quest. However, then the story lost most of its drive and the theme became a little monosyllabic. Lila, the feral orphan child searching for identity and a sense of belonging, acquires her grace a little too easily, not surprising as throughout she’s surrounded by idealised characters. There’s no evil in Robinson’s landscape, not even of the petty variety which can so try one’s patience and faith. In this sense it’s more of a fable than a novel with archetypes replacing believable human beings. At times I couldn’t help wishing Toni Morrison had written this novel. No one, after all, is better than her at giving the inarticulate an eloquent poetic voice. In Robinson’s hands the embittering experiences of Lila’s youth remain largely cosmetic. The struggle to overcome them no more difficult really than weeding a neglected garden. It’s a heartwarming vision. No doubt about that. And maybe, if you bumped into someone as wholeheartedly benevolent and generous as Lila’s husband such a happy ending might be possible. Gilead, for me, was charged with dramatic tension by the appearance of wanton malevolence into the narrative; Lila, on the other hand, has only her own demons to oppose and they are eliminated with the predictability of ogres falling in fairy stories. The message perhaps take too much precedence over dramatic tension. It is a lovely hopeful message though.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
Some works of fiction are wonderful. They make us laugh, cry, sing. We love their style, their plot, their characters. But, occasionally, a work of fiction steps beyond that and becomes important. It tells us something; something we know but cannot express. It informs us about the human condition, the human spirit, the things that make existence, life itself, worthwhile and meaningful. This is one of those novels. It is one of three, which taken in their totality, are the stuff that true enduring classics are made of.

Lila is written in the same kind of stream of consciousness style that we encounter in Gilead. It is Lila’s view of the events that John has already told us about, but expanded and tempered by the addition of Lila’s background story and her own inward tumult. Here is loneliness, in its most cavernous garb, imposed by life experience and then self-imposed for self-protection. Here is longing and loving and fear and need and fright and tenderness and thanksgiving and disbelief and grief and, surely, grace.

How can anyone wade in these waters and not come out baptized in the knowledge of what it is to be human? How can Robinson touch on nerves so raw and still show us that there is good in every person if you stop to find it? What if the person who understands life the best is the one who has suffered the most and been offered the least? And, what if things that look horrible on the outside spring from the sweetest of intentions and motivations, or the fate of every individual is tied up in being seen by someone else, when you are invisible to the rest of the world? If these are not the books to read at this time of civil misunderstanding, I cannot think what books would be. This is a portrait of what it is to be the dispossessed and forgotten and what it is to look beneath the surface and discover that we are all fashioned of the same blood and tissue and fear and need.

I will be digesting this book and its brothers for a long, long time. I will re-read them soon, because there is no way that you can read them once and absorb everything there is in them that matters. The Pulitzer doesn’t always get it right, but Marilynne Robinson is a writer of such caliber that I cannot doubt they got it right when they handed the prize to her.

Goodreads will only let me give these books 5-stars, but they are, for me, what Milton and Pope and Shakespeare are--they are books that will not wear out with time and will have something important to say hundreds of years later.


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