Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

2009 Women's Prize for Fiction Winner

Home by Marilynne Robinson


Publisher: Virago

Length: 352 pages

About: The prodigal son returns

Style: 3rd person

Where: US, Iowa

When: 1950s



Publisher’s synopsis:

Jack ... prodigal son of the Broughton family, godson and namesake of John Ames (main protagonist of Robinson's previous novel), gone twenty years, has returned home looking for refuge and to try to make peace with a past littered with trouble and pain. A bad boy from childhood, an alcoholic who cannot hold down a job, Jack is perpetually at odds with his surroundings and with his traditionalist father, though he remains Broughton's most beloved child. His sister Glory has also returned to Gilead, fleeing her own mistakes, to care for their dying father. Brilliant, loveable, wayward, Jack forges an intense new bond with Glory and engages painfully with his father and his father's old friend, John Ames.





What does it mean to come home? Glory had always thought home would be a house less cluttered and ungainly than this one, in a town larger than Gilead, or a city, where someone would be her intimate friend and the father of her children, of whom she would have no more than three. . . . She would not take one stick of furniture from her father's house, since none of it would be comprehensible in those spare, sunlit rooms. The walnut furbelows and carved draperies and pilasters, the inlaid urns and flowers. Who had thought of putting actual feet on chairs and sideboards, actual paws and talons?






Robinson is a great technician, but technique is the starting-point of her writing, not its object, which is to write, gravely and with a humanity so carefully considered as to have the appearance of simplicity, about the errors, regrets and dire misunderstandings of human life: what can be forgiven and repaired, and what cannot.
The cadences of her prose have a resonant authority more like that of great music than language. The effect is utterly haunting.

The Daily Telegraph, 28th September 2008


Not so good:

"Home" will not be a novel for everyone. If you were raised, as I was, in an old-line Protestant environment where judgment is the knife-edge of the kindly gesture, and reconciliation means "bend to the Lord's will," this book will resonate with you for weeks after you've finished it. If you weren't, you may well wonder: Why do these people keep tormenting themselves, measuring every thought, word and deed against 500 years of Protestant/Calvinist doctrine?

Mary Ann Gwinn, The Seattle Times , September 12th 2008



About the author

Marilynne Summers Robinson (born November 26, 1943) Robinson (née Summers) was born and grew up in Sandpoint, Idaho, and did her undergraduate work at Pembroke College, the former women's college at Brown University, receiving her B.A., magna cum laude in 1966, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington in 1977.




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Books by same author:

Housekeeping (1980)

Gilead (2004) Pullitzer Prize Winner

When I Was A Child I Read Books (2013)



















 None to date













2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

Extract from New York Times to view full article...

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