I red with great joy that Marilynne Robinson was awarded the 2009 Orange Prize for Fiction in a ceremony yesterday evening at London's Royal Festival Hall (actually just a stone's throw from our offices!). This was for her new novel Home which revisits places and characters of her earlier novel Gilead.
Well, none of them was published by us, obviously, but I must admit that I cannot think of a novel from the past four of five years that I found so deeply moving and at the same time so unashamedly theological as "Gilead". Stanley Hauerwas has dubbed it the "first Barthian novel" as you can read in Ben Myers' fine review.
Here is what the Guardian writes about the event:
"Fi Glover, the broadcaster who chaired this year's judging panel, admitted the decision had been straightforward and unanimous. Home, Robinson's beautifully crafted exploration of family relationships and redemption, was the easy winner from the six shortlisted books, she said. "All of the judges brought a couple of books to the table which they thought were definitely the contenders and Home was in all of our choices. We were in agreement."
I was also intrigued by this passage:
"Readers were desperate for more but Robinson did not return to fiction for 24 years, winning a Pulitzer prize for Gilead five years ago. In between she wrote a polemical book about the British nuclear industry and a book of essays on such unfashionable subjects as theology and Calvinism."
Unfashionable subjects, well...