Reading Genesis

21,000+ Reviews has the highest-rated customer service of any bookstore in the world
Product Details
$29.00  $26.97
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date
5.73 X 8.47 X 1.17 inches | 0.98 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate
About the Author
Marilynne Robinson is the author of Gilead, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award; Home, winner of the Orange Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Lila, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Jack, a New York Times bestseller. Her first novel, Housekeeping, won the PEN/Hemingway Award. Robinson's nonfiction books include The Givenness of Things, When I Was a Child I Read Books, Absence of Mind, The Death of Adam, and Mother Country. She is the recipient of a 2012 National Humanities Medal, awarded by President Barack Obama, for "her grace and intelligence in writing." Robinson lives in California.


"Extraordinary . . . a writer's book, not a scholar's; it has no footnotes. Its power lies in the particular reading it gives us of one of the world's foundational texts, which is also one of the foundations of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author's mind and faith. We want to know what Robinson thinks of Genesis for the same reason we'd want to know what Tolstoy thought of it." --Francis Spufford, The New York Times Book Review

"Alluring, contemplative . . . Robinson considers the weighty issues in clear-eyed prose; her close readings compel us to imagine these characters anew . . . The selling of Joseph into Egyptian bondage is an artful essay unto itself, gleaming like a Fabergé egg amid cerebral analysis." --Hamilton Cain, Boston Globe

"Like so much of Robinson's writing, [Reading Genesis] is alive with questions of kindness, community and how to express what we so often struggle to put into words." --David Marchese, New York Times Magazine

"The genius of Reading Genesis lies in its collapse of the space between the holy and the mundane, the metaphysical and the physical." --Judith Shulevitz, The Atlantic

"[Robinson] occupies a unique place in American culture today . . . readers look to [her] for a certain kind of book that no one else provides--gracious, grave, radiant, and revelatory, with a distinctly anachronistic tinge . . . As a work of biblical commentary, Reading Genesis might be a departure from the historical novels and collections of essays that she is known for, but it is also a natural next step." --Briallen Hopper, New Republic

"A brilliantly fresh reading of familiar stories, highlighting both the small details we might miss and the large-scale shifts in understanding that the storytelling represents . . . [Reading Genesis] invites us to take time in reading the stories again, in the company of an exceptionally wise and perceptive storyteller, one of the foremost novelists today in the English language . . . a work of exceptional wisdom and imagination, a real model of how to read the biblical text with the eyes of an adult faith." --Archbishop Rowan Williams, The Telegraph (UK)

"Marilynne Robinson has managed to thread the theme of goodness into her entire body of work . . .[In] Reading Genesis, she does it once again, unfolding a tapestry of ideas drawn from her keen exploration of the first book of the Bible . . . [Robinson] seeks a deeper understanding of goodness that transcends any particular faith tradition." --Joan Taylor, Christian Science Monitor

"[A] rich and provoking study . . . Robinson finds a way to produce a powerful meditation on hope at a time when that virtue is generally in short supply . . . In luminous prose she challenges a modern reader to understand just how unusual a book Genesis is, pregnant with meaning that stretches to our own day." --Julian Coman, The Guardian (UK)

"Robinson's sharp literary eye and clear, lyrical prose shine new light on some of our oldest stories . . . Readers will find astute insights on the power and gravity of human agency, and even some hope." --Delaney Coyne, America

"In this illuminating work of biblical analysis, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Robinson, whose Gilead series contains a variety of Christian themes, takes readers on a dedicated layperson's journey through the Book of Genesis. The author meanders delightfully through the text, ruminating on one tale after another while searching for themes and mining for universal truths . . . [A] luminous exegesis." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Robinson skillfully melds her literary interpretation with her theological one . . . Like the biblical book it explicates, Robinson's offering is demanding, intense, and best read slowly." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A literary, scholarly, and personal reading of Genesis . . . Throughout this deeply involving and enlightening exegesis, Robinson links Genesis to the profound dilemmas of our time." --Donna Seaman, Booklist