Lila by Marilynne Robinson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
How lucky am I? Reading Lila in the same week as a Julian Barnes and close to reading Kent Haruf's last? Very lucky.
There are people I know who don't like Robinson's Christian elements (especially in Gilead). This has some of that, but so much less. Lila's story is one of hardship before and during the Dust Bowl, taken by Doll (whose relationship to Lila is unclear, if one actually exists) from an abusive/neglectful family that necessitates them moving constantly, usually as part of a group of migrant farm workers. Eventually, after a long stint in St. Louis and an attempt to return "home" to find Doll, Lila manages to walk into the preacher's life (John Ames, from the two previous books). The twists and turns of her life, her relationship with Doll and John and God and religion are told in Robinson's usual wonderful prose. There are questions left unanswered, but isn't that life? We never know everything about people, no matter how much we might want to.