there is really no story here. it is a long letter that an old man is writing to his young son. it is a recap of some mostly uninteresting incidents in the father's life and is meant to teach the son after the father is gone. the father is a preacher and all the incidents described in the letter could be seen as teachable moments for a good and Christian life. I am giving up on the book halfway through . . . something I almost never do but I just couldn't continue the slog.
Marilynne Robinson is the most lyrical novelist working today. Pretty much all the action is interior--the musings of an old man in an old town. But the fineness of his perceptions and his gentle moral rigor are given full play and in prose that is fine and precise, like the best of scalpels.
I begin my review by saying this is not my typical read. I'm in a book club that chose Gilead for this month. So you might want to take my review in light of that.
Gilead was a easy read in my opinion. While it had some deep themes it was pretty straightforward in presenting them. I found the main character quite childish for someone of such advanced age. But I maybe that was he point? Having grown up in a preacher family and attended Bible college for one of my bachelors, I hope that this internal dialogue is for them but my experience doesn't bare this out. There is a sense of childishness, vulnerability and willingness to question himself that I've just not seen in someone at the similar time of life and situation. The story itself was a bit monotonous and I didn't care for the abrupt ending.
I know the book has won quite a few accolades but just wasn't great for me. Maybe you will be different?
Anne in Happy Valley
I could not get into this book. The premise bored me.
Did not care about the character who narrated the story.
Yes, he was good.
I don't think readers play that role. That's for authors and their editors.
The second time I listen to this book was even more magical than the first time. A fine story at the sentence level all the way up to the serious and human endeavors. Savor this book.
The narrator for "Gilead," Tim Jerome deserves as much credit and applause as possible for making this such a wonderful listening experience. I've recommended the listen many times now simply because Tim makes it such a fine piece of art. The story and writing are exceptional to begin with, perfectly understated. But really, for me, Tim's presentation brought it to life. Very well done!
Beautiful story that captures the essence of a life lived in remembrance, long awaited grace, grief of pending loss, acceptance and finally forgiveness and astonishing revelation of love. The vocal narrator captured the Pastor's essence and soul. Recommended for those of us who treasure a great story in the line of Styron and Faulkner (with a MIDWEST setting.) I think I will now "pray and then sleep"
Such a clever, clever book. It takes you to quite unexpected places - Gileadites, the prodigal son who leaves again and again, a patriarchy of pastors who are blind to their world and yet acutely observant of human nature but ignorant of what is directly in front of them. The invention of God and a turn on Feuerbach. I've been to Iowa. It'll never be the same. I would be happy to read this again. There's also a lot of joy in this book. Calvin gets a lot of cameos. Super American book, by which I mean it mines some themes that are v. Interesting to outsiders like me, e, g. John Brown. This is a beautifully nuanced piece of writing.