In college all of them had studied the putative effects of deraci­na­tion, which were angst and anomie, those dull horrors of the modern world. They had been examined on the subject, had rehearsed bleak and porten­tous philoso­phies in term papers, and they had done it with the earnest suspen­sion of doubt that afflicts the highly educa­ble. And then their return to the pays natal, where the same old willows swept the same ragged lawns, where the same old prairie arose and bloomed as negli­gence permit­ted. Home. What kinder place could there be on earth, and why did it seem to them all like exile? Oh, to be passing anony­mously through an imper­sonal landscape! Oh, not to know every stump and stone, not to remember how the fields of Queen Anne’s lace figured in the childish happi­ness they had offered to their father’s hopes, God bless him.

Passages like this make me think that Marilynne Robinson may be my new favorite author. Home is a wonderful book, beautiful and moving and written with such evoca­tive, precise language. I can’t recom­mend it enough. But if my recommen­da­tion hasn’t convinced you, please read James Wood’s excellent piece in the New Yorker about Robinson and her work.