Gilead

Robinson, Marilynne

Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2004

p. 7

John Ames, a 76-year-old minister, dying from heart failure, writes to his son about how he has experienced life.  “See and see but do not perceive, hear and hear but do not understand, as the Lord says [Mt. 13:13].  I can’t claim to understand that saying, as many times as I’ve heard it, and even preached on it.  It simply states a deeply mysterious fact.  You can know a thing to death and be for all purposes completely ignorant of it.  A man can know his father, or his son, and there might still be nothing between them but loyalty and love and mutual incomprehension.”