Though I’m not done reading Gilead and I wanted to hold off quoting from it until I was done, I must do it. This is just too good to pass up.
I’ve laughed out loud more than a few times reading this book, though I don’t think it's meant to be comic. Yet owing to Robinson's success at never allowing the narrative to take itself too seriously, the book is sometimes a riot.
For those unfamiliar with the novel, the book is simply a letter written from an apparently dying father and pastor to his son. This quote has nothing to do with anything, it’s just fine writing:
When she woke up, she was so glad to see me, as if I had been gone a long time. Then she went and fetched you and we ate our supper in the parlor—it turns out that whoever brought the [TV] trays brought one for each of us. Since supper was three kinds of casserole with two kinds of fruit salad, with cake and pie for dessert, I gathered that my flock, who lambaste life’s problems with food items of just this kind, had heard an alarm. There was even bean salad, which to me looked distinctly Presbyterian, so anxiety had overspilled its denominational vessel. You’d have thought I’d died. We saved it for lunch.
It was “distinctly Presbyterian” that killed me.