Lila is the third of Marilynne Robinson’s novels to take the small Iowan town of Gilead as its setting. It follows the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead (2004) and the Orange Prize-winning Home (2008). Robinson has attributed her earlier return to this fictional territory, and the lives of the Ames and Boughton families, to her unwillingness to bid them farewell at the conclusion of Gilead. We have this same sentiment, perhaps, to thank for Lila, which – while it ultimately leads us back to the world of Reverend John Ames – begins far from Gilead’s quiet streets.
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