NSD English PLC

Grade 12 Title Suggestion


by Marilynne Robinson

first published in 1980

earned PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award in 1982


In language as lyrical and lush as the landscapes it describes, Robinson tells a haunting story of the permanence of loss and the transitory nature of love. She reminds us that, despite the fragility of human relationships, our desires to hold onto them are what make us whole.


"To crave and to have are as like as a thing and its shadow. For when does a berry break upon the tongue as sweetly as when one longs to taste it . . . and when do our senses know any thing so utterly as when we lack it? And here again is a foreshadowing—the world will be made whole."

New York Times Review

At one point in ''Housekeeping,'' Ruth has grown so awkwardly tall that her sister, Lucille, knocks the heels off her shoes to help her stand and move more naturally. Marilynne Robinson, too, does something like this. She knocks off the false elevation, the pretentiousness, of our current fiction. Though her ambition is tall, she remains down to earth, where the best novels happen. by Anatole Broyard, January 07, 1981