Book reviews Critiques littéraires Books recently published in english and french.

mercredi 1 juillet 2009

Marylinne Robinson, Home , Orange Prize, 2009

A difficult and profoundly moving book , Robinson is one of America's most remarkable writer . Going home, in a provincial house where a very old man lives with a middle aged daughter, for a wayward drunk at the end of his rope ,is really sad and hard . Jack arrives home, haggard ,silent, polite and hides in his room while his sister Glory broods on her own failures ,resents his presence , and the old father invokes Scriptures ,rejoices in sacrificial love and tries to recreate a normal family routine . It is slow ,painful but riveting ,the three of them reveal the hidden bonds of the highest spiritual love among humans: how to help your old father to end his life and how to redeem your pathetic lost brother .The biblical return of the Prodigal son is told in a retiring rural town , but we know well enough this redemption is less and less probable in a modern rootless , individual society .

Robinson reveals a rare insight in the soul's meanderings in a beautifully crafted novel , depicting a wonderful family life of yore ,in Gilead ( as in Robinson' s first novel ) with all its moral values,fears and moral expectations . Religion as in Faulkner, lays heavy on their lives .Yet this is not the doomed South , it is on the contrary highly realistic in the human problems presented to us : the obligation we have to care for our brother .The Boughton family deals with it alone, without the help of institutions ; care and unconditioned love is natural, a duty even when the lost soul is awful, weak and selfish .Obviously sacrificial Christian charity is pervading here but also admirable because of the absolute sobriety of this family , presented as a myth of civilization evidently but also as its last vestigial stronghold . "Home" indeed is our foundation ,even when we have lost it and dream of it ; It is where we all want to return all our lives.

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Brussels, Belgium
Née à Bruxelles, mère résistante et sculpteur, père homme d’affaires, études à l ’Université libre de Bruxelles ( Philosophie et Lettres ; arts primitifs), puis à Harvard ( anthropologie), Rutgers New Brunswick, Duke University .N.C. USA ( littérature comparée, Masters et Doctorat.) Thèse publiée (Ph.D) sur Valéry et Mallarmé. Enseignement universitaire aux USA, en France (Aix en Provence) et au Liban (comme coopérant) ,littérature et philosophie , en français ou anglais. Mariée en premières noces à un avocat américain G.Robert Wills et puis à un peintre et publiciste Français, Jean- Pierre Rhein (décédé). La plupart des publications sous le nom de Wills.Vit à Bruxelles.