Last night I finished the first required reading for my class: Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson. My class is all about people - observing, listening, figuring out how they think. So we're reading books about humans and the human condition - listening in, so to speak.
Gilead is a father-and-son book. An elderly preacher, dying of heart disease, writes a long meditation on his life, for his young son. In it he recounts much of his life and describes some very complicated father-son relationships: his own father and grandfather, and his best friend and his son. There is also a good bit of musing on faith.
Some of the reviews I read called the book "slow" and "tedious." It is certainly not a page-turner. But it is beautiful and it has a lot to say about relationships, life, disappointments and how we respond to them. As my professor said, "this is one to read slowly, put down and contemplate. Don't try to read it all in one sitting. Roll it around in your head before you move on. There's a lot here." I'd agree with that assessment.