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Book - 2008
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Glory Boughton, aged thirty-eight, has returned to Gilead to care for her dying father. Soon her brother, Jack--the prodigal son of the family, gone for twenty years--comes home too, looking for refuge and trying to make peace with a past littered with tormenting trouble and pain.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780312428549
9780374299101
0374299102
Branch Call Number: F Rob

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RogerDeBlanck Jul 27, 2018

Home is Robinson’s supplemental novel to Gilead, and it proves to be every bit as splendid as its predecessor with its heartrending characters, beautiful composition, and thought-provoking ideas. Robinson chooses to continue exploring one of the most interesting characters from Gilead. Jack Boughton is the wayward son of Pastor Robert Boughton, who is best friends with the central character in Gilead, John Ames. Jack’s presence in Gilead poses some of the major moral dilemmas in which that novel addresses: how does regret haunt us, and what degree of good constitutes vindication? How Jack deals with his burdens and what he chooses to do to overcome his past become the focal issues in Home.

It is the 1950s, and Jack has fathered a son with a black woman, but his attempts to provide for his family are dashed by his alcoholism. Having fallen out of graces with his wife and son, Jack returns to his childhood home in Iowa to attempt rectification of his past and to renew his relationship with his father, Pastor Boughton. In the meantime, Jack’s sister Glory, a product of broken emotions from her own failed marriage, has also returned home to tend to their ailing father. The bond that develops between brother and sister is memorable and heartbreaking. Robinson forges her way deep into the souls of these two siblings to tap the core of their feelings. Both their lives are filled with sadness and remorse, yet they are trying to work out redemption and salvation as a way to move forward and forgive.

Robinson is a virtuoso stylist and prose writer. Her work challenges readers to be patient and attentive. As with Gilead, Home should not be read too quickly. Any attempt to speed-read will leave you missing the astounding intensity of ideas in which Robinson packs into her narrative. Her sentences are nuggets of truth and understanding, essentially adding up to a grand philosophy on life. Her books are better when taken in small portions, 10-15 pages a day, in order to savor her beautiful language and the powerful story she weaves. One feels as though Robinson’s books, in addition to their profound character studies, are simultaneously reservoirs of wisdom and knowledge. Home stands on its own as a great book alongside its predecessor Gilead.

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bkaczor
Nov 25, 2016

Really slow moving. Tried to keep reading but could not make it past page 150. Did not enjoy at all.

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haileyj
Mar 12, 2016

I enjoyed Ms. Robinson's other novels and this one didn't disappoint. Her ability to completely describe a character so that you think you must know them too is incredible. The character of Jack is a perfect example of the contradictions that lie within each person. The many facets of his personality made him an interesting if somewhat unlikeable character. Only his sister Glory can finally understand him and let him go.

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joan47
Nov 13, 2015

No chapters, but a continuous read about Glory (40+) her brother Jack and their ailing aging father. They have both come home to take care of Rev Boughton who has always loved Jack but could never understand him. Poignant story about the difficulties of a private, lonely, uncommunicative, Presbyterian family. Many secrets, or untold stories are alluded to and occasionally revealed.

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DorisWaggoner
Oct 21, 2015

I loved this book almost more than its companion "Gilead," which I reread just before reading "Home." Shifting from John Ames to his best friend Rev. Boughton's children, the focus is on the return of Jack, his favorite, and his sister Glory, the family caregiver. The two men turn the parable of the Prodigal Son on its head. Boughton can't stop preaching in a nagging way, and Jack can't stop his secretive, evasive ways. I agree, the Nobel prize for literature is in order for Robinson, especially with "Lila" under her belt as well. Her gift with characters is incredible, her writing is smooth, her descriptions are clear. Do read the quotation--it gives just one example of the riches of her language. That she puts all this in the framework of mid 20th c. Iowa small town Christianity is rather beside the point. Robinson writes about the human condition better than about anybody I've ever read.

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jabehill14
Sep 30, 2015

Robinson is the master of characterization. Every nuance, insecurity, and layer of her characters intertwine into the perfect network of tension, misunderstanding, and irresolution which is incredibly convincing and utterly relatable. This book was somewhat of a counseling session for me. I'll be checking out Robinson's other works in the Gilead universe

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Chapel_Hill_KenMc
Dec 08, 2014

I say let's just give her the Nobel Prize now. Robinson is clearly one of the best writers on the planet, writing with a concentration of power and grace that can leave you flabbergasted, coming as it does in such as quiet and unassuming package. No noisy scenes, no emotional rants--just true-to-life characters doing their best in a morally compromised world. Here she revisits Gilead, Iowa, shifting from the perspective of Rev. Ames to the children of his life-long friend, the Presbyterian Rev. Broughton. The shift in perspective lets us see the 1950s world of Gilead as a completely different universe.

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lizapierce
Oct 31, 2013

I love Marilynne Robinson so much. How is it that a story so simple as coming home is heart-wrenchingly captivating for more than 300 pages? Wrenchingly is not even a word. And how does she make it so that I feel I can relate to every character? I don't know. I just want her to keep writing.

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Ninjakid972
May 14, 2013

I'm dying to read this book it sounds so good!

a
AndrewTerMarsch
May 12, 2013

I nearly didn't read this book. The first chapters didn't grab my attention but i"m so glad I persevered. It's a touching story about a family with a wayward adult son and how he tries to reconcile his life with his youngest sister and his aging father, a former Presbyterian minister. The "illumination" of the characters is sensitive, touching and painful. It's not a book about "action" but about the trials and tribulations of people trying to make sense of their lives.

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vickiz
Dec 21, 2008

She went to the porch to watch him walk away down the road. He was too thin and his clothes were weary, weary. There was nothing of youth about him, only the transient vigor of a man acting on a decision he refused to reconsider or regret. No, there might have been some remnant of the old aplomb. Who would bother to be kind to him? A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and as one from whom men hide their face. Ah, Jack.

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