Monday, October 26, 2009

Home by Marilynne Robinson

by Marilynne Robinson
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Rating (on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being best)
Plot: 5
Characters: 5
Writing: 5
Final: 5

Comments: I'm not going to be able to do this book justice. The two words that keep coming to mind are beautiful and devastating. It gave me a feeling I don't experience much any more--I don't know how common this feeling is, so this might not mean much to you. Particularly throughout my childhood, in that indefinable period of stillness between late afternoon and evening (generally on Sundays) I would be overwhelmed by what I can only describe as a crushing, suffocating sense of melancholy. This book gave me that same feeling. However, lest you get the wrong idea, I loved it. I couldn't put it down.
Hundreds of thousands were enthralled by the luminous voice of John Ames in Gilead, Marilynne Robinson's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Home is an entirely independent, deeply affecting novel that takes place concurrently in the same locale, this time in the household of Reverend Robert Boughton, Ames's closest friend.

Glory Boughton, aged thirty-eight, has returned to Gilead to care for her dying father. Soon her brother, Jack—the prodigal son of the family, gone for twenty years—comes home too, looking for refuge and trying to make peace with a past littered with tormenting trouble and pain.

Jack is one of the great characters in recent literature. A bad boy from childhood, an alcoholic who cannot hold a job, he is perpetually at odds with his surroundings and with his traditionalist father, though he remains Boughton's most beloved child. Brilliant, lovable, and wayward, Jack forges an intense bond with Glory and engages painfully with Ames, his godfather and namesake.

Home is a moving and healing book about families, family secrets, and the passing of the generations, about love and death and faith. It is Robinson's greatest work, an unforgettable embodiment of the deepest and most universal emotions.

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