- شركت انتشارات قلم،
- Publication Date:
- 01 January 1900
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The best novel I have read in a long time. It’s quiet and somber, reflective and perceptive, moving and thought-provoking. It’s a retelling of the parable of the Prodigal Son, with more depth and complexity than the original.The novel deals with issues of morality and religion with sensitivity and understanding. This is a novel for thinking adults, for those with faith and without, for the hopeful and the hopeless.
My friend Susan gave me this book several years ago because she knew how much I loved Gilead. It's one of my favorite books ever. Home is the story of another family in Gilead--another pastor, this one Presbyterian, his daughter, and the return of his prodigal son. I say story, but only in the loosest terms, if, by story, you mean a book that has a plot. This one does, I guess, but not much of one. It's much more about relationships, family, forgiveness. It's shot through with sadness in the same way that Gilead is shot through with joy.I didn't find myself underlining a sentence in every other paragraph this time, but I still found myself rereading certain passages. Robinson's books remind me a bit of William Maxwell's. Maybe it's the settings. But I think what it really is is the thoughtfulness, the crafting of each and every sentence, the absolute clarity in the writing.I loved this book so much that I ended up ordering Robinson's most recent publication, a collection of essays called When I Was Young I Read Books. I am very much looking forward to it.
Marilynne Robinson's writing is luminous, truthful, gorgeous, enlightening, perfect, graceful in at least two senses of the word. I loved the book Gilead and think Home is even better. For someone like me who values characterization above action, Home is wonderful to read; a book to ponder and treasure...beyond a "good read." It just seems like truth. Robinson is one of our writers who can discuss faith and theology in a believable way. This book will be too slow for many readers -- perhaps you have to have lived at a slower time and place, like Gilead, Iowa in 1956, to appreciate the pace. The main characters, the Boughton and Ames families, address each other in unfailing, exquisite courtesy, which will seem unbelievable to some modern readers. I was reminded of how surprised I was as a new bride (1962, North Carolina) by my husband's family's unfailing politeness to one other ("They treat each other like company!" ). The old, dying Presbyterian minister, Robert Boughton, who loves his eight children, the black sheep Jack most of all, is of course, like God the Father, though flawed in his way, and especially on the issue of race; oblivious, really, this kindly old man, of the realities of race in America, as so many were at that time, and not just in Iowa. One aches for Jack, as his sister Glory and entire family does, and one wants to shake him, too. Actually, the reader wants to shake almost every character that appears in this book at one time or another, just as one does the members of one's own family. The friendship between the two old ministers and friends is just priceless; and the scene of their having what will undoubtedly be their last communion together, pure beauty. Since a good bit of the book revolves around the family's anxiety about Jack's future, earthly and eternal, I thought the heart of the book was expressed in Glory's conclusions as she tossed and turned the night before Jack is to leave, "She thought, 'If I or my father or any Boughton has ever stirred the Lord's compassion, then Jack will be all right. Because perdition for him would be perdition for every one of us.'"
Give me just the basic outline of this novel and I wouldn't even pick it up: a middle-aged brother and sister, disappointed and failed in life, return to the family home, now inhabited solely by their dying clergyman father. They talk a bit, they argue a bit, and at the end something approaching plot happens.But wow! What an awesome novel. Robinson has the verbal precision of Philip Roth at his best, only the world about which she writes is muted, soft, understated, where Roth's is bold and confrontational. I think that is where the power in the novel lies. The reader is never made privy to the inner hurt that the brother and sister are feeling. We can only wonder at the torments they are going through as they tentatively negotiate a way round their disappointments. All this in a very unusual third person style, in which the sister, Glory, is ever-present, but somehow secondary in much of what is said to her brother and father. But that, I guess, is the point: this woman who was never able to take control of her life. Ah, Glory!
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