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David King, October 21, 2014 (view all comments by David King)
Before I read her new book in this series I wanted to re-read Gilead, the first book. I'm not sure what impresses me more -- that a middle-aged woman can voice so well the thoughts of an aging man, that she understands and explains so well issues of faith without having a seminary education, or just that she has such a remarkable gift for telling compelling, believable stories about people in a small town. Marilynne Robinson is truly a remarkable writer and Gilead is a treat to be savored.
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lukas, January 30, 2014 (view all comments by lukas)
There are very few novel that take as their subject religion/spirituality and can appeal to both believer and non-believer. Robinson's graceful, poignant and nuanced book is one of the rare that does so and does so beautifully.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
h, March 16, 2013 (view all comments by h)
You read this novel for how it has you experience the time of the mind, the time of family, the time of the memory one leaves with others, the time of lived history. The plot isn't worth relating because it's about the sentences that travel through emotion, through certainty and into doubt, from endorsement to estrangement, all between the space of periods. Rooted in Iowa, in a town that may slowly fade into a history that only a few will remember, and in a time in US history that some see as a Golden Age and some as an age of delusion. Just excellent. One of the few recent novels to earn that Pulitzer that actually deserved it.
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mumblipegs, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by mumblipegs)
A story that can be both gentle and disturbing. When you finish reading, the book must closed quietly, so as not to disturb an old man's life.
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gopherprairieexile, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by gopherprairieexile)
A truly spiritual book, and in the pure sense, not in the cheap, distorted marketing/publishing sense. This was the first book I read in 2011 (and its sequel, Home, the second) and it's strange that I should pick them up in January, because by February, all hell broke loose in my life, and how much worse it would have been without the thought this book provoked and the subsequent insight provided.
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Product Details

Robinson, Marilynne
Picador USA
Fathers and sons
General Fiction
Christian fiction
Domestic fiction
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.29 x 5.49 x 0.7 in

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Gilead Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Picador USA - English 9780312424404 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

This is one of the few books I have read that has made me actively slow down my reading pace. Every sentence, every word feels purely distilled into its most emotionally resonant core. Robinson's prose conjures up that curious feeling you get sometimes in the early morning or the twilight gloaming, that wonderful sense of anticipation made so sweetly poignant by its inherent transience. Beautiful and elegiac, one of my all-time favorite novels.

"Staff Pick" by ,

A story about faith, love, history and growing old, this book is poignant and lovely. It is a long letter from a father who thinks he is soon to die, to his seven-year-old son. Robinson's command of language, her deep understanding of humanity, and her own religious study come together in this outstanding novel. It was worth the 20-year wait.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Set in 1956, Marilynne Robinson's Gilead is a letter from the elderly Reverend John Ames to his very young son. Ames has lived all of his life in Gilead, Iowa, and the novel delves into the history of the area through the characters of Ames's father and grandfather — also ministers, but deeply divided on ideas such as pacifism, duty, and the abolitionist movement. And eventually, when John Ames Boughton, Ames's namesake and godson, returns to Gilead, he brings up old tensions and sets events in motion that disturb Ames's formerly peaceful last days. Gilead is one of the most beautifully written books of the new century thus far, and Robinson's incredibly insightful grappling with faith, mortality, and what constitutes a meaningful life will resonate with readers across every spectrum.

"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 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" 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."
"Review" by , "So serenely beautiful, and written in a prose so gravely measured and thoughtful, that one feels touched with grace just to read it. Gilead possesses the quiet ineluctable perfection of Flaubert's 'A Simple Heart' as well as the moral and emotional complexity of Robert Frost's deepest poetry. There's nothing flashy in these pages, and yet one regularly pauses to reread sentences, sometimes for their beauty, sometimes for their truth....Eventually one realizes that beyond a portrait of the human condition — prey to isolation and loneliness, ever needful of faith and love — Robinson has subtly introduced that great heartbreaking theme of American history, the often divisive, unfulfilled quest for social and racial justice....Immensely moving....[A] triumph of tone and imagination."
"Review" by , "Full of the penetrating intellect and artful prose that made Housekeeping a modern classic....A story that captures the splendors and pitfalls of being alive, viewed through the prism of how soon it all ends. The world could use...more novels this radiant and wise."
"Review" by , "[Gilead is] a poignant, absorbing, lyrically written novel [and] a wonderfully readable bookmoving, compelling, and fascinating in any number of ways....[This is] thoughtful, luminous writing."
"Review" by , "Fans of Robinson's acclaimed debut Housekeeping, will find that the long wait has been worth it....Robinson's prose is beautiful, shimmering and precise: the revelations are subtle but never muted when they come, and the careful telling carries the breath of suspense. There is no simple redemption here: despite the meditations on faith, even readers with no religious inclinations will be captivated. Many writers try to capture life's universals of strength, struggle, joy and forgiveness — but Robinson truly succeeds in what is destined to become her second classic."
"Review" by , "[This book's] grandeur is grounded in what are essentially religious virtues: humility, awe, and gratitude. Its themes echo the universal claims of faith, family, and fathers and sons. Gilead feels like a classic."
"Review" by , "Gilead is chock full of rich, complex language, [and it] plunges into intricate philosophical and spiritual introspections. There's also an intriguing plot turn and characters who harbor beguiling histories. One might also point out that it's the little things — the main character's love of baseball and fried-egg sandwiches, for instance — that ground this deeply reflective yet accessible novel....Gilead is a refuge for readers longing for that increasingly rare work of fiction, one that explores big ideas while telling a good story."
"Review" by , "From Robinson's pen, these pages flow with the intensity of a prayer, both anguished and assured....The result is a testimony of struggle and faith over three generations that's more intimate and revealing than most parents can articulate in decades....Gilead wanders in that casual way that fellow masters of reflection like Henry David Thoreau or Annie Dillard manage without seeming vagrant....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."
"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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