Saturday, April 20, 2024

My Dear, Suspicious Friends

Not to brag, but I did successfully predict the hottest new trend of 2024: Rachel and the teraphim! Marilynne Robinson covers it in her new book READING GENESIS. Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking I picked up that book just because I knew Rachel and the teraphim would be in it. Oh, my dear, suspicious friends. Nothing could be further from the truth. I guess a few things could be further from the truth. After all, I know about the contents of Genesis from my many mornings in Sunday school. And the story of Jacob, which includes Rachel and the teraphim, also contains my favorite Bible character (as this important document ["click" here] from fifteen years ago will confirm), Esau. I was a bit put off by the very rough treatment given to Esau by Thomas Mann. Marilynne Robinson goes easier on him in the end, though she does call him a "boor," ha ha! I seem to be forgetting the task at hand, which is to show you why you're all wrong about me, all the time. See, I happened to find READING GENESIS at Square Books, and I remembered seeing something nice in the New York Times about it, and I've always meant to get into Marilynne Robinson somehow or another, and that's all there is to it. Though I did text Megan that I thought it was going to be a good companion piece to JOSEPH AND HIS BROTHERS. Yes, that's the kind of thing we text about! Sometimes! And I was right. I dip into READING GENESIS for just five minutes at a time, and that just twice a day, right before I take my blood pressure. I probably read somewhere on the "internet" that you should relax for five minutes before taking your blood pressure. And what could be more relaxing than the Old Testament? Even though I am going through READING GENESIS at such a modest rate, I'm getting near the point where it's going to present spoilers to me as I continue with JOSEPH AND HIS BROTHERS, which I am reading at a much faster clip. I mean to say that Robinson covers in a paragraph what it takes Mann tens of thousands of words to get across. You would think I would be immune to spoilers, given my supposed familiarity with the narrative, but lots of times Mann will tell of an outlandish incident and I'll think, "Well! No way that's in the Bible!" and then I'll look, and there it is in the Bible. Oh! Remember how I said that I loved THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN, but it took me about 100 pages before I really got into it? The same goes for JOSEPH AND HIS BROTHERS, except it takes 200-400 pages to get going.