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Book rating: 04 Paperback

By (author) Marilynne Robinson

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  • Publisher: St Martin's Press
  • Format: Paperback | 325 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 206mm x 28mm | 249g
  • Publication date: 1 September 2009
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0312428545
  • ISBN 13: 9780312428549
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 33,230

Product description

"WINNER OF THE ORANGE PRIZE 2009 A 2008 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST""WINNER OF THE "LOS ANGELES TIMES "BOOK PRIZE" "A "New York Times "Bestseller ""A "Washington Post "Best Book of the Year ""A "Los Angeles Times "Best Book of the Year ""A "San Francisco Chronicle "Best Book of the Year "Hailed as "incandescent," "magnificent," and "a literary miracle" ("Entertainment Weekly"), hundreds of thousands of readers were enthralled by Marilynne Robinson's "Gilead." Now Robinson returns with a brilliantly imagined retelling of the prodigal son parable, set at the same moment and in the same Iowa town as "Gilead." The Reverend Boughton's hell-raising son, Jack, has come home after twenty years away. Artful and devious in his youth, now an alcoholic carrying two decades worth of secrets, he is perpetually at odds with his traditionalist father, though he remains his most beloved child. As Jack tries to make peace with his father, he begins to forge an intense bond with his sister Glory, herself returning home with a broken heart and turbulent past. "Home "is a luminous and healing book about families, family secrets, and faith from one of America's most beloved and acclaimed authors.

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Author information

MARILYNNE ROBINSON is the author of the novels "Gilead," "Housekeeping, " and two books of nonfiction, "Mother Country" and The Death of Adam. She teaches at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Customer reviews

By Marianne Vincent 29 Oct 2014 4

"You must forgive in order to understand. Until you forgive, you defend yourself against the possibility of understanding"

Home is the second book in the Gilead series by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Marilynne Robinson, and is set in Gilead, Iowa at the same time as the first book. This book focusses on Reverend Robert Boughton (closest friend of Reverend John Ames), and his family. Thirty-eight-year-old Glory Boughton, with a failed engagement behind her, returns to Gilead to look after her ailing father, Robert. A letter arrives, and Glory worries about the effect it will have on her father: "â?¦the note might really be from Jack, but upsetting somehow, written from a ward for the chronically vexatious, the terminally remiss".

Eventually, her disreputable brother Jack, an unemployed alcoholic, returns home after twenty years of virtual silence. Her father is pleased to see this favoured child again, one who went from â??a restless, distant, difficult boyâ?? to what Jack himself admits: "...nothing but trouble....I create a kind of displacement around myself as I pass through the world, which can fairly be called trouble". Jack is not the only one with secrets in his past, and he and Glory form a bond. His reconnection with his godfather and namesake, Reverend John Ames does not proceed smoothly.

They think back on their youth in the family home: "Experience had taught them that truth has sharp edges and hard corners, and could be seriously at odds with kindness" and "...lying in that family meant only that the liar would appreciate discretion....as a matter of courtesy they treated one anotherâ??s deceptions like truth, which was a different thing from deceiving, or being deceived". Glory is less than pleased to be in Gilead and dreads the thought of spending the rest of her days there: "To have [the past] overrun its bounds this way and become present and possibly future, too â?? they all knew this was a thing to be regretted"

Robinson treats the reader to some marvellous descriptive prose: "Their father said if they could see as God can, in geological time, they would see it leap out of the ground and turn in the sun and spread it arms and bask in the joys of being an oak tree in Iowa". She touches on the question of racial prejudice and also includes some hints about the life Lila led before Gilead, a subject expanded on in the third book in this series. While this novel is somewhat slow in places, it is a stirring read and the final pages will move many readers to tears.
4.5 stars

Review quote

Praise for "Gilead": ""Gilead "is a beautiful work--demanding, grave and lucid . . . Robinson's words have a spiritual force that's very rare in contemporary fiction." --James Wood, "The New York Times Book Review"