Idol Chatter

I don’t find as much time as I used to for snuggling up with a good book, but when I do I relish the opportunity. One of the few fiction books I have had time to read in 2008 has been Marilynne Robinson’s sequel of sorts to the magnificent, prize- winning novel “Gilead.” “Home” takes place during the same time period as “Gilead,” but shares the point of view of a different set of characters from that novel, the Boughton family–in particular dutiful daughter Glory.
“Home” provides one of the best prodigal son stories in modern literature as Jack Boughton returns to the family homestead in dirt poor rural Iowa. Jack has returned amidst rumor and scandal but still in search of spiritual solace in his own way. He reconnects with his sister Glory as he helps her care for their dying father. He also strikes up an uneasy relationship with the local pastor, Reverend Ames.

Robinson’s portrait of family tensions is a poetic portrait of the longing for peace. As the beloved characters of Gilead come to life again in Robinson’s vivid prose, the reader is treated to simple acts of grace and forgiveness that are inspiring and yet completely unsettling in their truth. With no easy answers or cliché resolutions, this is a timeless story of brothers and sisters, fathers and sons, that shouldn’t be missed, but should be savored slowly. Put it on your list of must-reads for the 2009 if you haven’t already.

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