OVERRIDE

When I Was a Child I Read Books

Essays

Marilynne Robinson

Picador

Marilynne Robinson has built a sterling reputation as a writer of sharp, subtly moving prose, not only as a major American novelist, but also as a rigorous thinker and incisive essayist. In When I Was a Child I Read Books she returns to and expands upon the themes which have preoccupied her work.

In “Austerity as Ideology,” she tackles the global debt crisis, and the charged political and social political climate in this country that makes finding a solution to our financial troubles so challenging. In “Open Thy Hand Wide” she searches out the deeply embedded role of generosity in Christian faith. And in “When I Was a Child,” one of her most personal essays to date, an account of her childhood in Idaho becomes an exploration of individualism and the myth of the American West. Clear-eyed and forceful as ever, Robinson demonstrates once again why she is regarded as one of our essential writers.

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

Wondrous Love

I have reached the point in my life when I can see what has mattered, what has become a part of its substance—I might say a part of my substance. Some of these things are obvious, since they have been important to me in my career as a student and teacher. But some of them I could never have anticipated. The importance to me of elderly and old American hymns is certainly one example. They can move me so deeply that I have difficulty even speaking about them. The old ballad in the voice of Mary Magdalene, who “walked in the garden alone,” imagines her “tarrying”

READ THE FULL EXCERPT
BACK

REVIEWS

Praise for When I Was a Child I Read Books

“A glimmering, provocative collection of essays, each a rhetorically brilliant, deeply felt exploration of education, culture, and politics…beautifully intelligent.”---The Boston Globe

“Robinson is that rare essayist whose sentences make you sit up and pay attention....The greatest pleasures of this book are its provocations, which are inseparable from its prose....Her essays are psalms to an indivisible America.”---The Wall Street Journal

“Illuminating…The best companion of all to Robinson’s novels might be her own essays.”---The New York Times Book Review

“Elegant essays…Reading [them] is like taking a draught of water from a cold spring. They offer us something rewarding, deeply essential, and long-sought.”---Roxana Robinson, The Washington Post

“A broadside defense of literature and classic liberalism…Her defense of our national character and the systems it created can swell your heart.”---Los Angeles Times

“One of the most remarkable of modern writers…This is a rare writer about America and one it seems to me we need.”---The Buffalo News

“The indomitable Marilynne Robinson radiates genius in her collection of essays.”---Vanity Fair

In the Press

Guernica / A Common Faith
'Marilynne Robinson looks to the stars for clues about our nature. By Marilynne Robinson'
- Guernica Magazine
Night Thoughts of a Baffled Humanist | The Nation
Punitive yet salvific, austerity is the ideology of a country that has turned against its own culture.
- The Nation
Work in Progress » Blog Archive » Marilynne Robinson: When I Was a Child I Read Books
Marilynne Robinson is the author of the novels Housekeeping (FSG, 1981), Gilead (FSG, 2004), winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and Home (FSG, 2008), and three books of nonfiction, Mother Country (FSG, 1989), The Death of Adam (1998) and Absence of Mind (2010).
- FSG's Work in Progress
BACK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Marilynne Robinson

  • Marilynne Robinson is the author of the novels Housekeeping (FSG, 1981), Gilead (FSG, 2004), winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and Home (FSG, 2008), and three books of nonfiction, Mother Country (FSG, 1989), The Death of Adam (1998) and Absence of Mind (2010). She teaches at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

  • Marilynne Robinson Kelly Ruth Winter
    Marilynne Robinson
BACK

BUY THE BOOK

Available Formats and Book Details

When I Was a Child I Read Books

Essays

Marilynne Robinson

New York Magazine Best Books of the Year, The Economist Magazine Books of the Year

BOOKS FOR COURSES AVAILABLE

BACK

FROM THE PUBLISHER

Picador

BACK