The Givenness of Things by Marilynne Robinson

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Robinson is America's foremost living Christian essayist and novelist—though I’d happily delete any number of those qualifiers and just call her the country’s best living writer.This collection of speeches, given over the last few years at various venues, is probably the clearest single-volume statement of Robinson’s religion, aesthetics, and politics.

As such, it is an essential purchase for anyone who cares about those topics, or about Robinson, or the English language, or being awesome. The talks, which take up many common threads (Shakespeare, grace, fear, Calvin, civil rights) and seem almost arbitrarily titled, offer a poignant glimpse into the heart of a writer whose passion for ideas seems to gather force as she grows older. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

About the Author

Phil Christman teaches English at the University of Michigan and attends St. Clare's Episcopal Church in Ann Arbor, Mich.

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