Meaning of "Gather" and "Rarely"
The two sentences below are excerpts from a book review. The work, which has no full stop, tells a story of an ordinary civil engineer. I'm unsure of my interpretation between the square brackets.
"And yet he(the engineer) is still concerned with scale and accuracy, mapping and surveying so that the grid of reason and progress could be laid across the earth, [gathering its wilderness into towns and villages] by way of bridges and roads and water schemes and power lines."
"These serial commas are the mark of the novel, whether its narrator considers his work-[a topic that is all too rarely covered in 20th- and 21st-century fiction]-or his love for his wife and their grown son and daughter." (Though the main clause seems confusing, please note that this book's feature is the absence of a full stop.)As to the former, I interpreted the section as "assembling and arranging orderly earth's wilderness into the towns...", namely the world of man (to lay the grid of reason and progress.)
As to the latter, although it seems improbable, I interpreted it as "fictional work of the these two centuries has seldom dealt with the theme that the narrator who considers his work."
You can read the original article here: https://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21728608-mike-mccormacks-solar-bones-written-single-sentence-joycean-novel-about-illness
Thank you for reading this to the end. Perhaps you would explain it.