Gilead

Gilead

Book rating: 04 Paperback

By (author) Marilynne Robinson

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  • Publisher: Virago Press Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 126mm x 194mm x 20mm | 220g
  • Publication date: 2 February 2006
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1844081486
  • ISBN 13: 9781844081486
  • Sales rank: 1,770

Product description

In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, a kind of last testament to his remarkable forebears. 'It is a book of such meditative calm, such spiritual intensity that is seems miraculous that her silence was only for 23 years; such measure of wisdom is the fruit of a lifetime. Robinson's prose, aligned with the sublime simplicity of the language of the bible, is nothing short of a benediction. You might not share its faith, but it is difficult not to be awed moved and ultimately humbled by the spiritual effulgence that lights up the novel from within' Neel Mukherjee, The Times 'Writing of this quality, with an authority as unforced as the perfect pitch in music, is rare and carries with it a sense almost of danger - that at any moment, it might all go wrong. In Gilead, however, nothing goes wrong' Jane Shilling, Sunday Telegraph

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Author information

Marilynne Robinson was born in 1947. Her first novel, Housekeeping (1981) received the PEN/Hemingway award for best first novel as well as being nominated for the Pulitzer Prize

Customer reviews

By Marianne Vincent 31 Dec 2012 4

Gilead is the second novel by American author Marilynne Robinson. It is 1956, in Gilead, Iowa, and John Ames, a seventy-six year-old preacher with heart failure, is writing a letter to his young son. After losing his first wife and daughter in childbirth, he has spent almost fifty years tending his flock, more than forty of them alone, before falling in love with Lila, thirty-five years his junior, and fathering a son. Knowing he will not see him grow up, he tries to tell his son the things he will need to know in life. He tells of the relationship he had with his father and grandfather, also preachers, and of the parting in anger, never reconciled, of his father and grandfather. As he writes, his anxieties for his wife and son's future security are voiced. When his godson and namesake John Ames Boughton (Jake), the prodigal son of his closest friend, returns to Gilead, he also worries about what danger his young family may face from this irresponsible man. Robinson skilfully and slowly builds this story that is occasionally more like a diary or stream of consciousness than a letter. The patient reader is rewarded with a beautiful ending that is bound to bring a tear to the eye. It is no surprise that this novel is the Winner of both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Orange Prize for Fiction. I look forward to "Home" which tells the associated story of the Boughtons. Uplifting.

Review quote

Gilead is no less a masterpiece than Housekeeping Sunday Times Stunning... there are gems on every page of Gilead, but it is the whole construction that marks it as a great work Daily Telegraph The slow pulse of Robinson's writing slows the reader's eye and mind, and creates in the reading process a literary version of the narrator's spiritual experience. Gilead reminds us that words have power to spare, to forgive, to do justice Independent A novel as big as a nation, as quiet as thought, and moving as prayer. Matchless and towering. Kirkus Review