Jan 13, 2024

rises to the level of tragedy

Phil Christman on Marilynne Robinson:

a lot of what has made Robinson seem exciting and bracing to me and to many other readers, for decades now, is that she dares to read American history as something that rises to the level of tragedy, rather than as darker-than-dark satire. She dares to write about the future possibilities of American life in a register that is both grave and full of a kind of prophetic hope, in which the potentially great things about our democracy are real enough that we might, if we wanted, simply reclaim them and live up to them. America, to her, is a place for which, given the history of the world, one ought to be able to muster up at least two cheers if not three — the world in general being pretty terrible. The nonfiction argues this, and the fiction brings it to life, i.e. argues for it in the way that can actually change your mind.