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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

Fiction & PoetryModern & contemporary fiction post c 1945 Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group Publication Date: 02/02/2006 ISBN-13: 9781844081486  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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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

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Customer Reviews

Presented as the memoir of the Reverend John Ames, Marilynne Robinson's prose sings with grace and majesty. This book is perfectly crafted with a strong and vivid voice. The novel takes the form of a one-sided conversation between Ames and his young son whose adolescence Ames is unlikely to live to see. It contains all the things he would have wished to tell him, reflecting on family history, faith, and ideas of forgiveness. I'd echo Julia's review about the religiosity of the piece; it feels wholly universal and not in the least specifically Christian. I look forward to reading Robinson's 'Home', a companion novel to this piece, following the life of John Ames Boughton, the prodigal son of Ames' oldest and closest friend.

- 05/05/2013
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Author Choice

David Mitchell writes - Measured, solid, real, honed, slow-burning, infused with a spiritual intelligence, lingering, imperishable.

David Mitchell - 11/03/2011

Staff Choice

A deceptively simple book on the surface, this fictional memoir by the Reverend John Ames. I tend to be a lot more interested in characters than plot, so the fact that nothing much happens doesn't bother me in the slightest, because it's a beautiful, reflective, exploratory piece that gives the reader much food for thought and leaves them with a sense that the world is a pretty grand place, all things considered. It's such a laden word and generally best avoided, but I would actually describe this book as life-affirming. Don't be put off because it may seem religious; I'm not and am rather wary of the possibility - Robinson's philosophical points are universal. - Julia

Westfield White City Bookstore - 23/09/2011


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