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Lila by Marilynne Robinson

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Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015.

A morality tale of great depth and charm as the author revisits the town and some of the characters from her previous bestsellers, Gilead and Home. Here we get the backstory of Lila prior to her marriage to the minister and widower John Ames. Neglected as a toddler, rescued by an itinerate worker Doll and living a scratched existence through farm work and such, Lila escapes her father by Doll’s supreme sacrifice. Much later on Lila ends up in Gilead and a beautiful relationship with the Reverend develops. The beauty of the countryside around Gilead, the kindness of its citizens and the peaceful religious moral tale make for a very comfortable read. ~ Sarah Broadhurst

If you like Marilynne Robinson you might also like to read books by Louise Erdrich, Philip Roth and Junot Diaz.


Lila by Marilynne Robinson

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.


'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 Bazaa

About the Author

Marilynne Robinson was born in 1947. Her first novel, Housekeeping (1981) received the PEN/Hemingway award for best first novel as well as being nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

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Book Info

Publication date

9th October 2014


Marilynne Robinson

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Virago Press Ltd an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group


272 pages


Literary Fiction
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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