Feature

Author of the week: Marilynne Robinson

Last week Marilynne Robinson's <em>Home </em>won the Orange Prize, an award given each year to the best new novel published in English by a woman.

Novelist Marilynne Robinson will take her rewards where she can get them, said Mike Collette-White in Reuters. When Robinson’s Home last week captured the Orange Prize, an honor awarded each year in London to a book deemed to be the best new novel published in English by a woman, the oft-lauded 66-year-old brushed off complaints that the prize is sexist. “It’s a necessary corrective,” she says. “There is a lingering tendency to treat writing by women as something of a subcategory.” What’s more, Robinson has distinguished herself as a writer of a unique theological bent, and her personal creed instructs her not to wait for the rewards of an afterlife.

Robinson identifies herself as something of a Calvinist, which she admits is “a little bit of an exotic thing to do” these days. But the Idaho native seems to find great freedom in John Calvin’s ideas about predestination, said Andrew Brown in the London Guardian. “One of the things that I like about the theology,” she says, “is the assumption that one is flawed.” She says she intentionally fashioned the central figure in Home, deadbeat dad Jack Boughton, as a character who can be imagined attaining a state of grace in the eyes of a God who sees beyond conventional notions of moral failure. Jack’s reward would never be in heaven, though. It’s the proper individual experience of this world, Robinson says, that represents the “clearest model we have of the nature of God.”

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