Now found wanting

Here are some lines from Marilynne Robinson’s novel Housekeeping, which I’ve just finished reading (emerging from it as from a marvellous dream). I find them evocative — within their context, but without it too.

Imagine that Noah knocked his house apart and used the planks to build an ark, while his neighbors looked on, full of doubt. A house, he must have told them, should be daubed with pitch and built to float cloud high, if need be. A lettuce patch was of no use at all, and a good foundation was worse than useless. A house should have a compass and a keel. The neighbors would have put their hands in their pockets and chewed their lips and strolled home to houses they now found wanting in ways they could not understand….

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