Gilead: A Novel (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Macmillan, Nov 15, 2004 - Fiction - 256 pages
1893 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.


What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

A wonderful book simply for the prose. - LibraryThing
It seems to me that plot is actually Robinson's enemy. - LibraryThing
I find the writing in this book achingly beautiful. - LibraryThing
In short, a beautiful book by an outstanding writer. - LibraryThing
It's more of a character study than a plot-heavy book. - LibraryThing
Don't get me wrong -- Robinson is a very good writer. - LibraryThing

Review: Gilead (Gilead #1)

User Review  - Chris Wilson - Goodreads

Marilynne Robinson is a terrific writer who has created a wonderful story and book. As a father, this book really hits home. What do you say to your children or what haven't you said that needs to be ... Read full review

Review: Gilead (Gilead #1)

User Review  - Christian Schwoerke - Goodreads

I have very warm feelings for this book, which was a pleasure to read, a pleasure that the prose afforded from word to word, sentence to sentence, and page to page—the mental equivalent of stroking a ... Read full review

Selected pages

Common terms and phrases

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.

Bibliographic information