A recent review (by a secular reviewer) of Gilead hits the bullseye, stating that no one can understand the book unless he/she is a Christian. Reviewers are raving (with justification) about the exquisite poetic language, the perfectly poised emotional temperature, the mastery of atmosphere and so on, but the fact is that the book will not yield its real secrets to anyone who does not grasp the essential nature of Christian faith.
We have waited a whole generation (since the deaths of Walker Percy, Flannery O’Connor, and Graham Greene) for the appearance of another world-class writer of literary fiction with Christian themes. God be praised.
Since the book is in a sense a series of meditations, it would lend itself, I should think, to an extended small-group study.