Length: 352 pages
About: The prodigal son returns
Style: 3rd person
Where: US, Iowa
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.