[ book ] What Are We Doing Here?

May 25, 2018

What Are We Doing Here?
Marilynne Robinson
Rating: 4 / 5

This collection of essays by esteemed American writer Marilynne Robinson will be tough going for many readers but will be enlightening for those who persevere.

Robinson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and an in-demand English professor and lecturer who also happens to be one of America’s finest essayists. 

This collection of 15 essays focuses largely on two of her chief loves: modern American culture and her Christian faith. Her observations on how they interact, collide and shape each other are—for an Australian reader—interesting, but I sense that for an American reader they would have greater emotional impact.


While her thoughts on hope, conscience and identity are particularly thought-provoking, some readers will tire quickly of words such as ‘chimerical’, ‘auricular’, ‘consanguinity’ and, oddly, ‘Albigensianism’. 

Maybe this book would be best purchased as a present for a smart American friend.



Tags: Salvation Army Australia

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Vol. 139, No. 14 // 11 April 2020

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