Thursday, December 17, 2015

Book Review: The Givenness of Things by Marilynne Robinson

I will (and have) read anything by Marilynne Robinson. This latest book is a collection of loosely connected and building essays. There's some real gems in here, especially when Robinson analyzes Shakespeare at the beginning, and the Gospels at the end. In the middle, there's some writing about science that I find very convincing and welcome when it focuses on wonder and the limits of knowledge, but a little less so when it critiques science in terms that the scientists will never respond to. There's also some politics that falls even farther short of the earlier nuanced and provocative literary analysis. In the end, this rambles more than other works and I will probably always prefer Absence of Mind to this one -- but when it's good, it's good in a way only Robinson can evoke.

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