Home: A Novel
Title: Home: A Novel
Author: Marilynne Robinson
Returning to Gilead to care for her dying father, Glory Boughton, the daughter of John Ames’s closest friend, is joined by her long-absent brother, with whom she bonds throughout his struggles with alcoholism, unemployment, and their father’s traditionalist values.
Amazon Best of the Month, September 2008: “What does it mean to come home?” In one way or another, every character in Home is searching for that answer. Glory Boughton, now 38 and lovelorn, has returned to Gilead to care for her dying father. Her wayward brother Jack also finds his way back, though his is an uneasy homecoming, reverberating with the scandal that drove him away twenty years earlier. Glory and Jack unravel their stories slowly, speaking to each other more in movements than in words—a careful glance here, a chair pulled out from the table there—against a domestic backdrop so richly imagined you may be fooled into believing their house is your own. Meanwhile, their father, whose ebullient love for his children is a welcome counterpoint to Glory and Jack’s conflicted emotions, experiences his own kind of reckoning as he yearns to understand his troubled son. There is a simplicity to this story that belies the complexity of its characters—they are bound together by a profound capacity for love and by an equally powerful sense of private conviction that tries the ties that bind, but never breaks them. It’s a delicate sort of tension that you think would resist exposition—and in fact these characters seem to want nothing more than, as Glory says, to treat “one another’s deceptions like truth”—but Marilynne Robinson’s fine, tender prose imbues this family’s secrets with an overwhelming grace. —Anne Bartholomew