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Home (2008)

Marilynne Robinson

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#1 Overstreet

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 01:57 PM

Just discovered this.

QUOTE
Hundreds of thousands were enthralled by the luminous voice of John Ames in Gilead, Marilynne Robinson�s Pulitzer Prize�winning novel. Home is an entirely independent, deeply affecting novel that takes place concurrently in the same locale, this time in the household of Reverend Robert Boughton, Ames�s closest friend.

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.

Jack is one of the great characters in recent literature. A bad boy from childhood, an alcoholic who cannot hold a job, he is perpetually at odds with his surroundings and with his traditionalist father, though he remains Boughton�s most beloved child. Brilliant, lovable, and wayward, Jack forges an intense bond with Glory and engages painfully with Ames, his godfather and namesake.

Home is a moving and healing book about families, family secrets, and the passing of the generations, about love and death and faith. It is Robinson�s greatest work, an unforgettable embodiment of the deepest and most universal emotions.


#2 Jason Panella

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 02:00 PM

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#3 Christian

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 03:01 PM

Double-edged sword: It either makes the first book richer, or diminishes it. Very, very risky, but I'll certainly read it.

#4 Joel

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 06:57 AM

Wow. That's more like it -- no more of these 20-year intervals between novels! My whole lifetime, literally, elapsed between Housekeeping and Gilead.

I mean, luckily, it continued after Gilead was published, but I'm just saying.

#5 Jason Panella

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 11:31 AM

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I don't think I've ever pre-ordered anything in my life, ever; so when I pre-order this it'll be a first!

#6 Michael Todd

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 11:13 PM

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#7 Christian

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 03:35 PM

Ron Charles:

Writing one novel about a minister's family is asking for trouble; writing a second seems downright unrepentant, the kind of misjudgment that could land a reputable literary author in a Christian bookstore or with a cozy series on the BBC. But Robinson, who teaches at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, is unlikely to suffer either fate; her books are toxic to sentimentality. Even more than their stylistic beauty, what's miraculous about Gilead and Home is their explicit focus on spiritual affliction, discussed in the hard terms of Protestant theology. Robinson uses the words "grace," "salvation" and "prayer" frequently and without embarrassment and without drifting into the gassy lingo of ecumenical spirituality. Her characters cower in the shadow of perdition.

#8 Darrel Manson

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 07:19 PM

There is an excerpt in the Sept. 9 issue of The Christian Century. Not available online.

#9 Christian

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Posted 02 October 2008 - 02:52 PM

Rich piece at The New Republic about Gilead and Home.

#10 Gina

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 08:03 PM

I'm enjoying Home very much, only it's bugging me that I read Gilead too long ago to remember how these characters and events looked from Ames's point of view. I'm going to have to dig it out and do a side-by-side reading!


#11 Christian

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Posted 17 October 2008 - 01:37 PM

Home has been nominated for the National Book Award.

My copy of the audiobook has just come in at the library. Has anyone heard it? I was put off by the narrator of Gilead, which I "read with my ears" twice before reading the novel in print (I slowly warmed up the narrator). I've got the print version of Home on my birthday list but figure I'll dive into the audio version. If it's anywhere near as good as Gilead, I'll want to experience it both ways.

#12 Gina

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Posted 17 October 2008 - 04:29 PM

QUOTE (Christian @ Oct 17 2008, 02:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Home has been nominated for the National Book Award.

My copy of the audiobook has just come in at the library. Has anyone heard it? I was put off by the narrator of Gilead, which I "read with my ears" twice before reading the novel in print (I slowly warmed up the narrator). I've got the print version of Home on my birthday list but figure I'll dive into the audio version. If it's anywhere near as good as Gilead, I'll want to experience it both ways.


I'm finished. I liked it, but I didn't like it quite as much as Gilead -- I think simply because I loved Ames as a narrator in the first book. (Interesting how differently he comes across in Home. He's still recognizable, but different.)

#13 Christian

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 11:46 AM

I'm into disc one, and despite the narrator's "old man voice" used for Boughton, I'm settling into the narrative. I hear Home is a more demanding read than Gilead.

Meanwhile, here's a profile of Robinson from today's Style section in The Washington Post:

If you want to understand how different Marilynne Robinson is from other contemporary novelists -- how different, in fact, from most contemporary human beings -- all you need to do is walk into her dining room.

"These are my favorite books in here," says the author of "Housekeeping," "Gilead" and the recently published "Home" as she motions toward the bookcase that fills one end of the small space. "See, look: Calvin, Calvin, Calvin."

Sure enough, here are the multivolume "Commentaries" of the great 16th-century Protestant theologian, whom Robinson considers one of the most falsely caricatured figures in history. Here are the two volumes of Calvin's "Institutes of the Christian Religion," without which she thinks you can't understand Herman Melville. Surrounding these are a multitude of other theological and educational works, few less than a century old. ...

Speaking of unusual: Try to imagine another 21st-century writer beginning a crucial scene in each of two novels by having a character say: "Reverend Ames, I'd like to know your views on the doctrine of predestination."

"I think that's a very thorny problem!" Robinson says, and laughs.

In Christian theology, predestination is the idea -- not universally accepted -- that God has foreordained all human fates, including damnation and salvation. The obvious problem with it is that it undermines the concept of free will. But "the problem with any other construct," as Robinson explains, "is that it limits the power of God."

Edited by Christian, 20 October 2008 - 12:10 PM.


#14 Andy Whitman

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 12:09 PM

QUOTE (Christian @ Oct 20 2008, 12:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm into disc one, and despite the narrator's "old man voice" used for Boughton, I'm settling into the narrative. I hear Home is a more demanding read than Gilead.

Meanwhile, here's a profile of Robinson from today's Style section in The Washington Post:

If you want to understand how different Marilynne Robinson is from other contemporary novelists -- how different, in fact, from most contemporary human beings -- all you need to do is walk into her dining room.

"These are my favorite books in here," says the author of "Housekeeping," "Gilead" and the recently published "Home" as she motions toward the bookcase that fills one end of the small space. "See, look: Calvin, Calvin, Calvin."

Sure enough, here are the multivolume "Commentaries" of the great 16th-century Protestant theologian, whom Robinson considers one of the most falsely caricatured figures in history. Here are the two volumes of Calvin's "Institutes of the Christian Religion," without which she thinks you can't understand Herman Melville. Surrounding these are a multitude of other theological and educational works, few less than a century old.

"Look at this," she says, flipping through the pages of a densely illustrated family Bible picked up in an antiques store. She points to a clutch of McGuffey Readers, then to "one of my treasures," a 19th-century biographical encyclopedia filled with "people that have dropped out of history."

Marilynne Robinson's 1998 book The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought is centered on the rehabilitation of John Calvin's image, at least as that image is understood within broader American culture. She makes a convincing case that he was far from the humorless, rigid moralist that he is often portrayed to be.

#15 M. Leary

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 12:16 PM

Wasn't he predestined for this image, mistaken or not?

#16 Andy Whitman

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 12:34 PM

QUOTE (MLeary @ Oct 20 2008, 01:16 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Wasn't he predestined for this image, mistaken or not?

Only in the most limited sense. His negative reputation is largely unmerited, the result of the irresistible momentum of theological retrenchment and the totally depraved opinions of his harshest critics.

Edited by Andy Whitman, 20 October 2008 - 12:47 PM.


#17 Jason Panella

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 01:14 PM

I'm about a third of the way through this right now, and am really starting to enjoy it. It doesn't have the immediate, fragile lyrical beauty of Gilead, but I feel like its riches are starting to show. Seeing the story of Gilead it from the Boughton's perspective is fascinating.

#18 Overstreet

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 02:20 PM

Marilynne Robinson has won the Orange prize for Home.

QUOTE
Perhaps the surprise was that there was no surprise. This year's Orange prize for the best novel written by a woman was last night won by a writer regarded by some as one of the greatest of living novelists: Marilynne Robinson.

Fi Glover, the broadcaster who chaired this year's judging panel, admitted the decision had been straightforward and unanimous. Home, Robinson's beautifully crafted exploration of family relationships and redemption, was the easy winner from the six shortlisted books, she said. "All of the judges brought a couple of books to the table which they thought were definitely the contenders and Home was in all of our choices. We were in agreement."

Glover said she had now read Home three times and it got better, more deep and profound, each time. "It does that wonderful thing of describing life that you almost knew about but never managed to put your finger on."

Edited by Overstreet, 03 June 2009 - 02:22 PM.


#19 CherylR

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 07:51 AM

I'm about a third of the way through this right now, and am really starting to enjoy it. It doesn't have the immediate, fragile lyrical beauty of Gilead, but I feel like its riches are starting to show. Seeing the story of Gilead it from the Boughton's perspective is fascinating.


I thought the same thing when I was reading it--both things, actually. :) As I thought about it, I don't think Home can have the same type of writing because Glory's story (and her character) is so different from Reverend Ames.

I think of Home as another version of the prodigal son story, only this one has all the messy parts left in b/c it's more from the POV of the older son who stayed home. While Glory left and then returned, she is, in a lot of ways, similar to the older son in the Biblical story, only she has secrets I'm pretty sure the older son never had. :)

#20 Darren H

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:37 AM

Dang. Just seeing this thread title makes me want to reread Gilead and Home.





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