The Givenness of Things Summary and Reviews

The Givenness of Things

Essays

by Marilynne Robinson

The Givenness of Things by Marilynne Robinson X
The Givenness of Things by Marilynne Robinson
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Book Summary

"Deeply thoughtful essays on troubling and divisive cultural - and spiritual - issues."

The spirit of our times can appear to be one of joyless urgency. As a culture we have become less interested in the exploration of the glorious mind, and more interested in creating and mastering technologies that will yield material well-being. But while cultural pessimism is always fashionable, there is still much to give us hope. In The Givenness of Things, the incomparable Marilynne Robinson delivers an impassioned critique of our contemporary society while arguing that reverence must be given to who we are and what we are: creatures of singular interest and value, despite our errors and depredations.

Robinson has plumbed the depths of the human spirit in her novels, including the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning Lila and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead, and in her new essay collection she trains her incisive mind on our modern predicament and the mysteries of faith. These seventeen essays examine the ideas that have inspired and provoked one of our finest writers throughout her life. Whether she is investigating how the work of the great thinkers of the past, Calvin, Locke, Bonhoeffer - and Shakespeare - can infuse our lives, or calling attention to the rise of the self-declared elite in American religious and political life, Robinson's peerless prose and boundless humanity are on display.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Eloquent, persuasive, and rigorously clear, this collection reveals one of America's finest minds working at peak form, capturing essential ideas with all "the authority beautiful language and beautiful thought can give them." - Publishers Weekly

"Deeply thoughtful essays on troubling and divisive cultural - and spiritual - issues." - Kirkus

"A fine collection by a skillful and thoughtful writer that will appeal to anyone interested in the connection between religion and literature, or who savors reading a solid discussion of deep topics." - Library Journal

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Author Information

Marilynne Robinson Author Biography

Photo: Alec Soth / Magnum Photos

Marilynne Robinson is the recipient of a 2012 National Humanities Medal, awarded by President Barack Obama, for "her grace and intelligence in writing." She is the author of Gilead, winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award; Home, winner of the Orange Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and Lila, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her first novel, Housekeeping, won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. Robinson's nonfiction books include The Givenness of Things, When I Was a Child I Read Books, Absence of Mind, The Death of Adam, and Mother Country. She lives in Iowa City, Iowa.

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