Gilead: A Novel

Front Cover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Nov 19, 2004 - Fiction - 247 pages
43 Reviews
2005 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Fiction 2004 National Book Critics Circle Winner In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. Ames is the son of an Iowan preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine, saw a vision of Christ bound in chains and came west to Kansas to fight for abolition: He "preached men into the Civil War," then, at age fifty, became a chaplain in the Union Army, losing his right eye in battle. Reverend Ames writes to his son about the tension between his father--an ardent pacifist--and his grandfather, whose pistol and bloody shirts, concealed in an army blanket, may be relics from the fight between the abolitionists and those settlers who wanted to vote Kansas into the union as a slave state. And he tells a story of the sacred bonds between fathers and sons, which are tested in his tender and strained relationship with his namesake, John Ames Boughton, his best friend's wayward son.

This is also the tale of another remarkable vision--not a corporeal vision of God but the vision of life as a wondrously strange creation. It tells how wisdom was forged in Ames's soul during his solitary life, and how history lives through generations, pervasively present even when betrayed and forgotten.

Gilead is the long-hoped-for second novel by one of our finest writers, a hymn of praise and lamentation to the God-haunted existence that Reverend Ames loves passionately, and from which he will soon part.

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Review: Gilead

User Review  - Washington Post - Goodreads

"Gilead" is so serenely beautiful, and written in a prose so gravely measured and thoughtful, that one feels touched with grace just to read it. Michael Dirda reviewed this profound and moving novel for us: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/... Read full review

Review: Gilead

User Review  - Chaybyrd - Goodreads

I am devastated by how much I despised this novel. It was one of the most uninspired stories about Christianity, forgiveness and familial bonds I have ever read. I can't help but wonder if this is the ... Read full review

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About the author (2004)

Marilynne Robinson is the author of the modern classic Housekeeping (FSG, 1981)--winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award--and two books of nonfiction, Mother Country (FSG, 1989) and The Death of Adam. She teaches at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop.

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