When I Was a Child I Read Books
“Author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel Gilead, Robinson weighs in with a series of tightly developed essays, some personal but mostly more general, on the Big Themes: social fragmentation in modern America, human frailty, faith. Her project is a hard-edged liberalism, sustained by a Calvinist ethic of generosity . . . In these times of the ever-ascending religious right, in the aftermath of what she sees as the ideologically secularist-driven cold war, Robinson bravely explores the corrosive potion of ‘Christian anti-Judaism’ and what it really ought to mean to be ‘a Christian nation.’”—Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
“The indomitable Marilynne Robinson radiates genius in her collection of essays.” —Vanity Fair
Ever since the 1981 publication of her stunning debut,Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson has built a sterling reputation as a writer of sharp, subtly moving prose, not only as a major American novelist, but also a rigorous thinker and incisive essayist. Her compelling and demanding collection The Death of Adam—in which she reflected on her Presbyterian upbringing, investigated the roots of Midwestern abolitionism, and mounted a memorable defense of Calvinism—is respected as a classic of the genre. In When I Was a Child I Read Booksshe returns to and expands upon the themes which have preoccupied her work with renewed vigor.
Clear-eyed and forceful as ever, Robinson demonstrates once again why she is regarded as one of our essential writers.
Marilynne Robinson is the author of the novels Housekeeping(FSG, 1981), Gilead (FSG, 2004), winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and Home (FSG, 2008), and three books of nonfiction, Mother Country (FSG, 1989), The Death of Adam (1998) and Absence of Mind (2010). She teaches at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.