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Gilead

Robinson, Marilynne (Book - 2004)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Gilead
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2005 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Fiction 2004 National Book Critics Circle Winner In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. Ames is the son of an Iowan preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine, saw a vision of Christ bound in chains and came west to Kansas to fight for abolition: He "preached men into the Civil War," then, at age fifty, became a chaplain in the Union Army, losing his right eye in battle. Reverend Ames writes to his son about the tension between his father--an ardent pacifist--and his grandfather, whose pistol and bloody shirts, concealed in an army blanket, may be relics from the fight between the abolitionists and those settlers who wanted to vote Kansas into the union as a slave state. And he tells a story of the sacred bonds between fathers and sons, which are tested in his tender and strained relationship with his namesake, John Ames Boughton, his best friend's wayward son. This is also the tale of another remarkable vision--not a corporeal vision of God but the vision of life as a wondrously strange creation. It tells how wisdom was forged in Ames's soul during his solitary life, and how history lives through generations, pervasively present even when betrayed and forgotten. 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.
Authors: Robinson, Marilynne
Title: Gilead
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: 247 p. ;,22 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Marilynne Robinson
ISBN: 0374153892
Branch Call Number: FICTION ROBINSON
Subject Headings: Conflict of generations Fiction Reminiscing in old age Fiction Children of clergy Fiction Fathers and sons Fiction Grandfathers Fiction Clergy Fiction Kansas Fiction
Genre/Form: Epistolary fiction
Christian fiction
Domestic fiction
Topical Term: Conflict of generations
Reminiscing in old age
Children of clergy
Fathers and sons
Grandfathers
Clergy
Authors, American
LCCN: 2004047063
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In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. Ames is the son of an Iowan preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine, saw a vision of Christ bound in chains and came west to Kansas to f... Read More »

As the Reverend John Ames approaches the hour of his own death, he writes a letter to his son chronicling three previous generations of his family, a story that stretches back to the Civil War and reveals uncomfortable family secrets.

As the Reverend John Ames approaches the hour of his own death, he writes a letter to his son chronicling three previous generations of his family, a story that stretches back to the Civil War and reveals uncomfortable family secrets.

Comment by: multcolib_dianaa Mar 04, 2014

This book is astonishing. It's written from the point of view of a minister who lives in a small town in the Midwest. He's dying and is writing for his young son to read after he's gone. I am not interested at all in small town life or Christianity, but Robinson's writing is lyrical and full of s... Read More »

This book is astonishing. It's written from the point of view of a minister who lives in a small town in the Midwest. He's dying and is writing for his young son to read after he's gone. I am not interested at all in small town life or Christianity, but Robinson's writing is lyrical and full of s... Read More »


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Mar 15, 2014
  • ColoradoAuthor rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Gilead makes me feel richer, better for having read it. Many times I paused to consider memorizing a passage--sometimes because of an insight it gave, sometimes because of the apt wording, sometimes because I just wished I could someday say the same thing in a similar situation

This book is astonishing. It's written from the point of view of a minister who lives in a small town in the Midwest. He's dying and is writing for his young son to read after he's gone. I am not interested at all in small town life or Christianity, but Robinson's writing is lyrical and full of soul and love for this world.

Jan 20, 2014
  • Rather_be_reading rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Very compelling for a book where nothing much actually happens! I read this because Nick Hornby raves about it in "Ten Years in the Tub", and it lives up to the hype (and I don't usually like award winning literary fiction!).

Oct 31, 2013
  • lizapierce rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Beautiful, thoughtful, amazingly written; stayed with me for quite some time.

Sep 29, 2013
  • Laphroaig rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

About as engaging as a 4 hour sermon.

Mar 19, 2012
  • pridi_o rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

This book is so slow many times I wanted to quit reading it. I also hated the preaching in this book: bleeeeech.
I persisted though because I wanted to find the answers to the following questions:
1. Why this book deserves a P. prize
2. Why Obama cites this book as his favorite
3. Why M.R. is a famous teacher of creative writing

my answers are:
1. Because it is about America, it is fairly deep, honest and touching, it is filled with love to this country and its people => it is patriotic in one word.
2. Because Obama can assume the image of a devout christian now? or can appeal to christian communities? + it is PATRIOTIC (right choice for a politician).
3. She is a very good writer. Her sentences flow and twist, her language is beautiful, vocabulary precise.

Am I going to read more of M.R.? Not very likely.

Recommended by Alex Meek

Dec 11, 2010
  • GrumpyDave rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

2005 Pulitzer Prize - Fiction

Aug 17, 2010
  • Harriet_the_Spy rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Nothing really happens in this book, but everything happens. It is the best book about Christianity I have ever read.

Feb 16, 2009
  • vickiz rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is the 48th of a series of titles selected by writer Yann Martel to provide to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to encourage an appreciation of the arts and literature in particular in the PM, and to also help him with his stillness and thoughtfulness. Martel has regularly sent books from a wide range of literary traditions to Harper, and has devoted a Web site to the book list and his kind and considered covering letters with each volume.

Gilead is poetically introspective, an elderly man's meditation on how fatherhood came to him late in life, and how he regrets that he won't likely see his young son to adulthood.

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Apr 09, 2014
  • sandra_src rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

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Feb 21, 2011
  • BDeB rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

an intimate tale of three generations, from the Civil War to the 20th century: a story about fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America's heart

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app10 Version Arkelstorp Last updated 2014/10/23 09:41