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Marilynne Robinson was born in 1947. Her first novel, Housekeeping (1981) received the PEN/Hemingway award for best first novel as well as being nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Her second novel, GILEAD, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction
This follow-up to Robinson's Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead (2004) is a concurrent narrative rather than a sequel, as if the earlier novel's journal entries had concluded with "Meanwhile...." The plot here concerns the large family of elderly Rev. Robert Broughton, specifically two of his adult children, who have returned to Iowa temporarily. Youngest sister Glory keeps house for her dying father, but her efforts are eclipsed by the reappearance of bad-boy favorite child Jack Ames Broughton two decades after a scandalous departure. Pain-filled and mysterious, Jack reengages uncomfortably with relations and neighbors, forcing them to confront perhaps unbearable truths about themselves and society. In Robinson's characteristically calm, measured language, the author creates three-dimensional characters that move believably within beautifully realized physical and psychological space as they confront (and challenge the reader with) deeply serious questions of faith, moral responsibility, and the racial divide in America. Fans of Gilead will be grateful for this expansion of the story--and for its closing hint of a possible return to the extended Ames/Boughton families, whose two small sons will carry their complicated heritage into the cultural revolutions of the 1960s. Highly recommended for all fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/08.]--Starr E. Smith, Fairfax Cty. PL, VA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
'Her fiction attends with rapt attention to the "dear ordinary" breathing fresh air into the long-standing debates of American Protestantism' Kasia Boddy, DAILY TELEGRAPH 'A quietly moving novel of faith and forgiveness.' Amber Pearson, DAILY MAIL 'So finely wrought as to make the work of her more productive contemporaries seem tawdry by comparison... The cadences of her prose have a resonant authority more like that of a great music rather than language. The effect is utterly haunting. The bad news is that is makes all other writing seem jejune for ages afterwards' Jane Shilling, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 'A luminous, profound and moving piece of writing. There is no contemporary American novelist whose work I would rather read' Micharl Arditti, INDEPENDENT 'This is certainly a novel about faith and love. However, it is also a meditation on doubt and fear... There is both a subtlety and a simplicity about her most powerful themes. She asserts the elusiveness of perfection, the foolishness of sever self-judgement and the unavoidable necessity of having to suffer in order to love... The beauty of HOME is that it does not offer the counterfeit currency of certainty but proffers the under-valued coin of hope. That is its glory, too' HERALD 'Compelling' OBSERVER 'One of the saddest books I have ever loved' Sarah Churchwell, GUARDIAN
Robinson's third novel, and second returning to the Iowan home of ministers John Ames and Robert Boughton, is a conflict between the responsible father and his prodigal son. Robinson's style is old-fashioned, puzzling over timeless concerns like faith and responsibility. Maggi-Meg Reed is perfectly amenable, retreating into the audio attic and retrieving some of the creakier techniques: a singsong cadence, a hoarse Yankee assurance--a Walter Brennanesque tone--for the Reverend Boughton. That these work so well is testament to Reed, who offered an excellent reading of The Time Traveler's Wife. It is also a sign of the essential rightness of this particular reading for Robinson's novel. In writing of clergymen and faith, Robinson's prose is near-biblical; Reed's voice conveys a similar depth of feeling and simplicity of expression. A Farrar, Straus & Giroux hardcover (Reviews, June 30). (Sept.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.