Synopses & Reviews
A history of faith, doubt, and religious belief told through five centuries in the lives of one remarkable family, by the award winning author of In the Deep Midwinter and Mr. White's Confession
Robert Clark traces the spiritual quests and struggles of his ancestors, from England's split with the Church of Rome at the end of the middle ages his own return to the faith five hundred years later. Clark reconstructs their lives as medieval Catholics, heretics, and inquisitors in the England of Henry VII; as Puritan settlers, participants in Indian wars, and accusers in witch trials in New England in the 1600s; as preachers, artists, writers, and agnostics during the thelolgical and intellectual upheavals of the 19th century that left them exploring creeds ranging from evangelical Protestantism to Unitarianism to Buddhism to atheism. In the context of King Henry's divorces and his quarrel with both the Pope and Martin Luther; the firery preaching of Jonathan Edwards and Cotton Mather; the religious and personal struggles of Emerson Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville, and Margaret Fuller, Clark weaves a rich history that culminates in his own quest through doubt toward faith. My Grandfather's House is a profound, passionate book that will speak to readers of Karen Armstrong and Kathleen Norris.
"Creative in its connections of genealogy and personal history." Kirkus Reviews
"...this is an odd platypus of a book.... gawky and beautiful, cuddly and off-putting and curiously compelling." The New York Times Book Review
Finalist, Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography
In the tradition of Augustine's Confessions, Robert Clark tells the story of his return to the Catholic Church through the prism of the religious history of his ancestors. Intertwining their experiences as Catholics in late-medieval England, as Puritan settlers in 17th Century New England, and as 19th Century New England transcendentalists with his childhood in an Episcopalian boarding school and later conversion to Roman Catholicism, Clark presents not only a memoir but a testament of faith.
About the Author
is the author of the novels In the Deep Midwinter
and Mr. White's Confession
, and River of the West
, a cultural history of the Columbia River (all Picador), and The Solace of Food
, a biography of James Beard. A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, he lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.