When I was a Child I Read Books, Marilynne Robinson, 2012

The Pulitzer Prize winning author of Gilead is also a superb writer of the personal essay, and this collection of eleven essays beautifully displays her prodigious gift of sentence writing.  It is, however, quite uneven at least for this non-Christian reader.  The essays fall into two major categories, the religious and the civil with one or two personal essays tossed in, like the eponymous When I Was a Child.  She struggles mightily with her despair about America’s descent into economic individualism and the loss of a mutually charitable and supportive community that was America’s origin.  She also struggles mightily with the anti-Semitic attacks on the Old Testament and the modern fundamentalists’ ignorance of the Bible’s emphasis on helping the poor.    She writes brilliantly about her view that the conflicts between science and religion and between atheism and belief are false issues, believing that both can coexist productively as long as we embrace mystery and knowledge as constructs in harmony.  Much to enjoy in this collection, but a bit too repetitive and tedious for me.