Thursday, January 11, 2007

Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne Robinson's second novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2005. Gilead is an epistle, a letter from an Iowa pastor in his late 70's to his young son. John Ames hopes that his son will read the letter some day as an adult and perhaps better understood what sort of man his father was. John Ames gives theological study and explanation of his own father and grandfather and the world they grew up in.

It's a slow moving novel, but very well written and quite moving because this is a man who has lived a good life but knows he is dying and because his son is so young he will never really get a chance to know his father.

No matter how good the novel may or may not be in the eyes of some readers, I would honestly give the novel the Pulitzer Prize for the last paragraph of the jacket copy.
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.
A "God-haunted existence"? I would love to know who wrote that copy. He or she deserves an award.

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