I finished reading Gilead this past week. The novel records the ailing John Ames attempt to pass on a type of biography to his young son whom he conceived late in life. Much of the narrative is proverbial in nature as insights and reflections ebb and flow with little sense of overall plot development. I talked one person who stopped reading it for this reason. However, the "story" begins to emerge in the second half of the book as past reflections and present circumstances overlap. In many ways Gilead represented for me the ability of writing and reflection to bring healing through the gentle exposure of ourself to ourself. Marilynne Robinson hints at this broader image of revelation throughout her work as the pastor John Ames continually muses on the surprise of God in creation. Towards the end of the book we read,
Wherever you turn your eyes the world can shine like transfiguration. You don't have to bring a thing except a willingness to see. Only, who could have the courage to see it?