Marilynne Robinson's prose is nuanced, restrained, perfect; a vehicle of story that renders irrelevant the assumed boundaries between fiction and truth. In this new masterpiece ('masterpiece' is said here in plain honesty, perhaps even understatedly) the forebodings and shadows intermittently present in Gilead
come into full view. The aged pastor John Ames' quietly anguished reminiscences of his friend and fellow-pastor Robert Boughton's black-sheep son Jack, in Gilead,
are transformed into Jack's flesh-and-blood presence in Home
. Glory, the youngest of Boughton's eight children, returned home to care for her dying father, becomes the only friend and interpreter of her tortured brother as he struggles toward the tenuous possibility of repentance and reconciliation with his family, with Ames, and the larger community. The entire drama unfolds in one household, in one very small town; yet the moral and psychological tensions exposed encompass the breadth of human and divine interaction. The issues parsed in the Calvinist-inflected theological debates briefly-visited in Gilead,
become immediate-even when unspoken-as the Reverend Boughton, Ames, Jack and Glory navigate a space pregnant with hope and despair, choice and seemingly predetermined destiny. 325 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
"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.