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Gilead

Author(s)
Published
02/02/2006

Publisher writes

In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, a kind of last testament to his remarkable forebears.

'It is a book of such meditative calm, such spiritual intensity that is seems miraculous that her silence was only for 23 years; such measure of wisdom is the fruit of a lifetime. Robinson's prose, aligned with the sublime simplicity of the language of the bible, is nothing short of a benediction. You might not share its faith, but it is difficult not to be awed moved and ultimately humbled by the spiritual effulgence that lights up the novel from within' Neel Mukherjee, The Times

'Writing of this quality, with an authority as unforced as the perfect pitch in music, is rare and carries with it a sense almost of danger - that at any moment, it might all go wrong. In Gilead, however, nothing goes wrong' Jane Shilling, Sunday Telegraph

Author Information

Marilynne Robinson

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

Judges' and contributors' comments

Hugh Rayment-Pickard: A brilliant fictional portrait of a humane Christian pastor, wrestling with the damage in his own history.

Bernice Martin: The first-person story of the life of a Congregationalist minister in a small American town told while he is dying. It is a subtle patchwork of ordinary life with all its small griefs, disasters, missteps, selfishness-es and generosities, and its pattern of human interdependence and unintended consequences, all seen through the compassionate eyes of an unspectacularly good man. It is infused with a Christian sensibility. Reading it and its sequel, Home, led me to rethink my critical opinion of Calvin and Calvinism, at least Marilynne Robinson’s take on that branch of Protestantism.

Mark Oakley: ‘Nothing true can be said about God from a posture of defence.’ Any book today that gives us this warning needs to be on our reading list.

Malcolm Guite: I think that generally, as a form of intellectual imaginative Christianity, (Robinson is) exercising a huge influence.

Reader comments

Sister Mary

27 September 2014 @ 11:24

This is, quite simply , a very beautiful book. The dying minister's reflections are so gentle. They do not baulk at difficult topics but are infused with a deep serenity that the writing shares with the reader. The sequel, HOME,which told the tale of the family of the Ames' friend, didn't match GILEAD for beauty and peace, but I'm longing for the release of the next book, LILA, telling the story of Ames' wife! Read GILEAD first!

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