"Gilead" wins the National Book Award!

I mentioned the new book by Marilynne Robinson a while back, and now it’s made even bigger headlines.

Right now, I’m reading the new book by Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day), Never Let Me Go.

It’s a fascinting, spooky story about teenagers living in a cloistered community. Like Shyamalan’s latest film The Village, the story leaves us trying to figure out what exactly this community is about, and why it’s so isolated in the world. The farther you read, the more the horror of the situation, and the characters’ inability to make sense of their situation, becomes. I’ve come to care for the narrator’s character very much, and I’m sad to see the end of the story coming so soon. I’ve only read The Remains of the Day, so I’m not an Ishiguro expert by any means, but I’d guess this story is quite a departure for him. He still has an eye for detail and a talent for developing intense emotions without indulging in cheap sentimentality or melodrama. The Big Events in this story are small, almost incidental moments that, because of the journey leading up to them, become loaded with significance.

The book will be published very soon.

And I’m still working my way through Don Quixote for the first time. In stages. I’m finding that I weary of Quixote’s company if I read it every night.

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  • mark

    Jeffrey,

    We’re praying.

  • Julie D.

    Praying …

  • Jeffrey Overstreet

    Well, I didn’t skip the Lamott reading BECAUSE of the Bush-bashing. I wanted to be there, but couldn’t make it. When I read Barbara’s account AFTER the fact, I felt relieved that I hadn’t attended. But now, reading YOUR account of the Seattle event, it sounds like it was an entirely different affair.

    I happen to agree with you on everything you said about dialoguing and interacting with culture. But personally, I’m so weary of rants against Bush that I’m purposefully avoiding such stuff. And usually, people in that sort of mood are in no mood to actually “engage” with anybody; they just want to be around people who will affirm their own anger.

    I am relieved to hear, though, that the Lamott visit to Seattle wasn’t like that.

  • Jeffrey Overstreet

    Well, I didn’t skip the Lamott reading BECAUSE of the Bush-bashing. I wanted to be there, but couldn’t make it. When I read Barbara’s account AFTER the fact, I felt relieved that I hadn’t attended. But now, reading YOUR account of the Seattle event, it sounds like it was an entirely different affair.

    I happen to agree with you on everything you said about dialoguing and interacting with culture. But personally, I’m so weary of rants against Bush that I’m purposefully avoiding such stuff. And usually, people in that sort of mood are in no mood to actually “engage” with anybody; they just want to be around people who will affirm their own anger.

    I am relieved to hear, though, that the Lamott visit to Seattle wasn’t like that.

  • Bryan Zug

    I totally disagree with your take on skipping the Lamott reading.

    I went here in Seattle and it was great. She layed off Bush intentionally (perhaps after reading Barb or similar feedback? Hmmm, who knows?) throughout the evening and shared some really great anecdotes.

    I can think of no other city in the US where we really need to build bridges with folks like Anne (and let her bash Bush without making that the bridge burner that we so often let it be — if she feels called to bash — which she obviously does).

    I agree with Barb’s assesment of a lot of Anne’s approaches to hot topics, but disagree that we should be spurning dialogue.

    Case in point — I gave her copies of my freind Don Miller’s 2 most recent books — noting that she was a direct inspiration for them and that he is now making a decent living as a writer because of her influence.

    If you haven’t read these books, please pick them up and read them (Blue Like Jazz and Searching for God Knows What) — they really hit a lot of the expatevangelical themes we are always talking about without throwing the baby out with the bathwater (as some are saying Anne does).

    Long story short — though these are evengelical books — Anne had heard of them and was really glad to get copies to read for herself.

    These kinds of things enlarge our conversation instead of constrict it.

    Also — my ex catholic hindu friend from work joined us at the reading — partly because she cannot relate to a Church that does not self critique itself and its usually affiliated political party regularly enough.

    Again — a bridge builder that could easily have been a barrier builder.

    anne hits enough of the central Gospel themes of “get yourself out of the way” and “thr criminal under my own hat is most of the problem” that I can live with other issues where we strongly disagree.

  • Jeffrey Overstreet

    Cool! Thanks!

  • amcorrea

    Jeffrey, feel free to either join or follow http://www.400windmills.com/ as we gear up to take on the “Quixote.”

    All the best!

  • Adam Walter

    Wow, the Ishiguro novel sounds great.

    Regarding the Lamott reading… I had similarly bad experiences a couple years ago at a David Mamet appearance and then last November at a Wendell Berry talk. These were so bad that–considering the November 2004 climate–I then decide to miss a rare opportunity to see Robert Bly speak. Obviously this one-sided political ranting draws a crowd (a crowd dazed by a sort of inverted jingoism), and these authors must enjoy being adored by a bunch of people who are outraged in the same way they are–but I wish these authors would wake up and realize that they are not promoting their holy ideals of Diversity and Tolerance by putting on such public displays. Gosh, I can hardly go to a book reading or a concert anymore without getting preached at about politics!


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