Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2005
National Book Critics Circle Award, Fiction, 2005From the author of Housekeeping, Gilead is the long-hoped-for second novel by one of America's finest writers.
Chosen by the New York Times Book Review as one of the top six novels of 2004.
In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames' life, he begins a letter to his young son, a kind of last testament to his remarkable forebears.
©2005 Marilynne Robinson; (P)2008 Hachette Digital
"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." (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)
"The gently American, finely judged narration succeeds in combining contemplation with vigour and in conveying a suggestion of mysticism." (The Observer)
This is a most unusual novel for the contemporary scene, with its concentration on Christianity and the life of a minister. I found it absorbing, and the reader excellent.
"Dour Reading Failed to Resonate"
I was very interested in listening to this book, but the dour reading style of the narrator induced a profound depression in my soul. Maybe it's an accurate rendition of the character's voice, but I had to cut and run before the first chapter was out.
"A salve to the soul and a joy"
The narrator of this beautiful book is an elderly priest in 1956 reflecting on his life in the small mid west town of Gilead. He is a tremendously appealing character -wise and sympathetic and flawed. It's a very human, sweet and profound book about families and small towns and troubles and belief. The last ten minutes had me close to tears and when it finished I found I'd been holding my breath. A joy.
"Beautiful story, excellent narration"
Absolutely. Although I am not at all religious, I do have a spiritual side and from time to time I ponder my values, what my purpose in life is and whether I'm being the best person I can be. In this beautiful story, that is exactly what John Ames also did, and I very much enjoyed reflecting on his ideas and observations - strengths, foibles and all. Everything about this book was serene and uplifting. It was a treat to listen to.
Tim Jerome is a first-class narrator. The more audiobooks I listen to, the more I have come to appreciate the incredible talent of professional narrators like Jerome. The tone, timing, rhythm and pace and character understanding are all spot on. I will definitely be looking out for more of his work.
"A deeply moving story"
This is a profound and beautiful book which is read very well indeed. It is heavily theological in places but I would recommend it highly to any thoughtful person.
Loved the first book 'Lila' - this one has little character interest and an overload of religious pondering.
"slow star to an engrossing parable"
I chose Gilead after reading many postive reviews and noting that it won the Pulitzer prize for fiction. This is effectively a letter from an elderly preacher to his young son, telling the story of his history and relationships.
It took a long time for me to engage with the character of the narrator. there was a level at which I was skeptical that a father was write such things to his son, and from another perpective, the monologue restricted the panorama of characters. After a while, it becomes clear that the single perpective is actually a central point of the story, which is in fact built upon in subsequent books, written from different characters' perspectives.
I warmed to the character and his story, as well as the narrator, and found myself increasiingly respecting his Christian and humanistic view of the world and the people around him, as well as his experiences, recollections and doubts.
I recooment the book and this production, with the slight reservation that the listener should understand the limited perspective of the narrator, and that for me, at leat, it took some time to fully engage with the story.
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