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Gilead

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Gilead Cover

ISBN13: 9781844081486
ISBN10: 1844081486
Condition: Standard
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Awards

2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
2004 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction

Staff Pick

Written 25 years after Housekeeping, Gilead was worth the wait. Nearing the end of his life, a small-town Reverend writes letters to his young son, and learns some hard truths about himself along the way. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 2005, this brilliantly gorgeous novel will completely invade you. Combining large themes, deep emotions, and a compelling story, all of which are so perfectly realized on the page, it is absolutely astonishing.
Recommended by Dianah, Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"Gilead is an almost otherworldly book. Its characters are, to a one, good people trying to do right. Obviously a work of enormous integrity, it feels different in kind from the work of writers who produce a book every couple of years, rushing to meet alimony payments, one imagines, or wanting to renovate kitchens. One senses none of the rub of greed informing the writing of the book — but because it lacks the mess of life poking up from the bottom, one is also left without the urgency of fiction." Mona Simpson, The Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)

"[N]early every sentence demands to be savored....There has been much talk lately about a religious divide in this country. Gilead, then, may be the perfect book at the perfect time: a deeply empathetic and complex picture of a religious person that is also gorgeously written, and fascinating." Anna Godbersen, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)

"There is a balm in Gilead, and I hope many people find it. For a country dazzled by literary and military pyrotechnics, this quiet new novel from Marilynne Robinson couldn't be less compatible with the times — or more essential....There are passages here of such profound, hard-won wisdom and spiritual insight that they make your own life seem richer....Gilead [is] a quiet, deep celebration of life that you must not miss." Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire Christian Science Monitor review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"[A] second novel that, however quiet in tone and however delicate of step, will do no less than...break your heart....[A] novel as big as a nation, as quiet as thought, and moving as prayer. Matchless and towering." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[A] work of profound beauty and wonder....Millennia of philosophical musings and a century of American history are refracted through the prism of Robinson's exquisite and uplifting novel as she illuminates the heart of a mystic, poet, and humanist." Booklist

Review:

"[R]eligious, somewhat essayistic and fiercely calm....Gilead is a beautiful work — demanding, grave and lucid." James Wood, The New York Times Book Review

Synopsis:

In 1956, toward the end of Rev. John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. This is also the tale of wisdom forged during his solitary life and how history lives through generations, pervasively present even when betrayed and forgotten.

Synopsis:

Twenty-four years after her first novel, Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson returns with an intimate tale of three generations from the Civil War to the twentieth century: a story about fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America's heart. Writing in the tradition of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, Marilynne Robinson's beautiful, spare, and spiritual prose allows even the faithless reader to feel the possibility of transcendent order (Slate). In the luminous and unforgettable voice of Congregationalist minister John Ames, Gilead reveals the human condition and the often unbearable beauty of an ordinary life.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

lissi, September 26, 2011 (view all comments by lissi)
Beautiful book with lots of lessons about what matters in life. It's nice to read that someone who seems to have the answers to what most of us are searching for is also human in the mistakes he makes. It gives the rest of us hope.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
lissi, September 26, 2011 (view all comments by lissi)
Beautiful book with lots of lessons about what matters in life. It's nice to read that someone who seems to have the answers to what most of us are searching for is also human in the mistakes he makes. It gives the rest of us hope.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
dwrites, August 4, 2011 (view all comments by dwrites)
This is a story that invites, not demands, the reader's slow, thoughtful chewing. In that respect, such a novel has not appeared in years. Perhaps not since Robinson's previous, Housekeeping. If you're fairly young, you can't imagine what you'd have in common in a dying Congregationalist preacher in the mid-1950s. If you're not Christian, even more problematic, as the Rev. Ames peppers this long, dying letter to his son, still at a tender age at the writing, with Scripture.

There is Robinson's gift, for this book is about all us all, after all.

Much narrative, little dialogue, you flip through it and wonder how to survive it. But soon you're going back and re-reading passages you've just read, not because they've confounded you, but because of the shock or universal truth and the beauty in their conveyance.

There is not a literary convention that Robinson does not employ with elan. You want to shake Ames from his apparent naivete, only to come to understand, later, that he wasn't naive at all.

He lives in the delight of a home freshly (for a man of seventy-something) endowed with a young wife and a very young son. Now the doctor tells him he isn't long for the world. The conceit is that Ames will herein write to his adult son (for that's when the letter is intended for opening) the many things he feels that he, as father, should teach a son and tell him about his family history -- which includes forays by a grandfather with the raiding John Brown in Kansas -- but ought not tell so young a boy.

The result is an intricate embroidering of an Iowa town (Gilead) that's been fraught with as much devastation and plain hard living and some better times and some strange and beautiful souls as any we've ever met anywhere in literature.

The story arc sneaks up on you. By then you're invested in Ames and his young family. Ames, his best friend (also a minister), his namesake (the other minister's son), have some coming-to-terms to do, with themselves and with each other. And as it will do, life's circle goes on, dips, rises, ends, starts anew, and with Gilead, we also find ourselves renewed.

The kind of rare, lovely artifact that changes us.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781844081486
Author:
Marilynne Robinson
Publisher:
Libri
Author:
Robinson, Marilynne
Copyright:
Binding:
TRADE PAPER

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Gilead Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details pages VIRAGO PRESS LIMITED (ENGLAND) - English 9781844081486 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Written 25 years after Housekeeping, Gilead was worth the wait. Nearing the end of his life, a small-town Reverend writes letters to his young son, and learns some hard truths about himself along the way. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 2005, this brilliantly gorgeous novel will completely invade you. Combining large themes, deep emotions, and a compelling story, all of which are so perfectly realized on the page, it is absolutely astonishing.

"Review A Day" by , "Gilead is an almost otherworldly book. Its characters are, to a one, good people trying to do right. Obviously a work of enormous integrity, it feels different in kind from the work of writers who produce a book every couple of years, rushing to meet alimony payments, one imagines, or wanting to renovate kitchens. One senses none of the rub of greed informing the writing of the book — but because it lacks the mess of life poking up from the bottom, one is also left without the urgency of fiction." (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)
"Review A Day" by , "[N]early every sentence demands to be savored....There has been much talk lately about a religious divide in this country. Gilead, then, may be the perfect book at the perfect time: a deeply empathetic and complex picture of a religious person that is also gorgeously written, and fascinating." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review A Day" by , "There is a balm in Gilead, and I hope many people find it. For a country dazzled by literary and military pyrotechnics, this quiet new novel from Marilynne Robinson couldn't be less compatible with the times — or more essential....There are passages here of such profound, hard-won wisdom and spiritual insight that they make your own life seem richer....Gilead [is] a quiet, deep celebration of life that you must not miss." (read the entire Christian Science Monitor review)
"Review" by , "[A] second novel that, however quiet in tone and however delicate of step, will do no less than...break your heart....[A] novel as big as a nation, as quiet as thought, and moving as prayer. Matchless and towering."
"Review" by , "[A] work of profound beauty and wonder....Millennia of philosophical musings and a century of American history are refracted through the prism of Robinson's exquisite and uplifting novel as she illuminates the heart of a mystic, poet, and humanist."
"Review" by , "[R]eligious, somewhat essayistic and fiercely calm....Gilead is a beautiful work — demanding, grave and lucid."
"Synopsis" by , In 1956, toward the end of Rev. John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. This is also the tale of wisdom forged during his solitary life and how history lives through generations, pervasively present even when betrayed and forgotten.
"Synopsis" by , Twenty-four years after her first novel, Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson returns with an intimate tale of three generations from the Civil War to the twentieth century: a story about fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America's heart. Writing in the tradition of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, Marilynne Robinson's beautiful, spare, and spiritual prose allows even the faithless reader to feel the possibility of transcendent order (Slate). In the luminous and unforgettable voice of Congregationalist minister John Ames, Gilead reveals the human condition and the often unbearable beauty of an ordinary life.
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