Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson grew up in Sandpoint, Idaho—nowhere near the “Midwest upbringing” alluded to in this Huffington Post intro. (Not only did the article’s author ignore the Northwest, but jumped the Mountain West as well!) Any NW fan of Robinson knows that the fictitious town of Fingerbone from her debut novel, Housekeeping, closely resembles Sandpoint, on the shores of Lake Pond Oreille. Though Robinson lived for two decades in Massachusetts and currently sets up shop in Iowa, her sensibilities are born of her Western childhood, when she “looked to Galilee for meaning and to Spokane for orthodonture.” Read Robinson’s take on intellectual development and Idaho style in this essay excerpt from her new collection, When I Was a Child I Read Books.
Robinson talks some about her Idaho childhood in this interview from Sun Valley Magazine’s winter 2011 issue. ” . . . I went to that museum that they have in Sandpoint now, and it looked exactly like the interior of my grandmother’s kitchen, my grandmother’s parlor,” she says. “And that was probably my strongest Idaho association, along with lady slippers and wild strawberries and huckleberries.”