Friday, April 28, 2006

"This world will be Troy"

Over spring break I started reading Gilead, which I'm continuing to read even though spring break is now simply a vague memory. It's a lovely and meandering novel; there are no chapters and the plot's not particularly linear. And once you allow your mind to slow down to match the novel's pace, you find that reading a book of this sort is a comforting experience. The narrator is a older Congregationalist minister who's writing to his young son; he tells stories of his past as he ponders the possible significance of his experiences. Early in the novel, Reverend Ames makes a striking observation, one that has remained with me and which I hope might indeed be the case one day.

I feel sometimes as if I were a child who opens its eyes on the world once and sees amazing things it will never know any names for and then has to close its eyes again. I know this is all mere apparition compared to what awaits us, but it is only lovelier for that. There is a human beauty in it. And I can't believe that, when we have all been changed and put on incorruptibility, we will forget our fantastic condition of mortality and impermanence, the great bright dream of procreating and perishing that meant the world to us. In eternity this world will be Troy, I believe, and all that has passed here will be the epic of the universe, the ballad they sing in the streets. Because I don't imagine any reality putting this one in the shade entirely, and I think piety forbids me to try.

~ from Gilead, Marilynne Robinson
Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in fiction


Post a Comment

<< Home