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Gilead Audiobook

Gilead

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Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2005

National Book Critics Circle Award, Fiction, 2005

In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. Ames is the son of an Iowan preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine, saw a vision of Christ bound in chains and came west to Kansas to fight for abolition: He "preached men into the Civil War", then, at age 50, became a chaplain in the Union Army, losing his right eye in battle. Reverend Ames writes to his son about the tension between his father, an ardent pacifist, and his grandfather, whose pistol and bloody shirts, concealed in an army blanket, may be relics from the fight between the abolitionists and those settlers who wanted to vote Kansas into the union as a slave state. And he tells a story of the sacred bonds between fathers and sons, which are tested in his tender and strained relationship with his namesake, John Ames Boughton, his best friend's wayward son.

This is also the tale of another remarkable vision, not a corporeal vision of God but the vision of life as a wondrously strange creation. It tells how wisdom was forged in Ames's soul during his solitary life, and how history lives through generations, pervasively present even when betrayed and forgotten.

Gilead is the long-hoped-for second novel by one of our finest writers, a hymn of praise and lamentation to the God-haunted existence that Reverend Ames loves passionately, and from which he will soon part.

©2004 Marilynne Robinson; (P)2005 BBC Audiobooks America, Published by Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC

What the Critics Say

"Gilead is a beautiful work: demanding, grave, and lucid...Robinson's words have a spiritual force that's very rare in contemporary fiction." (The New York Times Book Review)
"The long wait has been worth it....Robinson's prose is beautiful, shimmering, and precise....Destined to become her second classic." (Publishers Weekly)
"[Gilead] is so serenely beautiful, and written in a prose so gravely measured and thoughtful, that one feels touched with grace just to read it." (The Washington Post Book World)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (1114 )
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4.1 (586 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Frances E. Greer, Jr. 08-09-16 Member Since 2016
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    "struggled..."

    ...to finish. pondorous. too preachy. I was expecting more. afraid to try the others by same author. alas. my book club chose it and our votes at the end were evenly split!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron 07-28-16
    Aaron 07-28-16
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    17
    4
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    "I like a finished work."

    I like a book that has an ending. One that lets me know what happens to the characters That I have spent the entirety of the book acquainting myself with. This one left me wondering. Not my style without happy ending. Good twist though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connie 07-14-16
    Connie 07-14-16 Member Since 2012

    Connie

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    "Definitely not for children"

    I had a hard time getting invested in this book but am so glad I hung in there. The story of a conscientious minister in his late 70s with a heart condition writing down thoughts for his young son to read later. His search for insight, meaning and the resolution of a painful relationship are very touching.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Altadenamom Altadena, CA 05-27-16
    Altadenamom Altadena, CA 05-27-16 Member Since 2013
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    11
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    "I don't get it"

    I love theology. I love spiritual autobiography. I love memoirs. I didn't like this book. I don't understand why so many people do. Perhaps it was the terribly old fashioned delivery of the narrator? I can't figure it out....... In all fairness, I did finish the audiobook, expecting some good twist of insight, but none came. So disappointing......

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn Elliott 05-18-16
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    "Karl Barth"

    The only giveaway that the reader and producer were not familiar with theology was the mispronunciation of Karl Barth's last name. It's a European hard 't' as in 'Bart'

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa 04-16-16
    Lisa 04-16-16 Member Since 2012
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    "disappointing"

    while consisted one of the best books of the year, I find myself bored to tears. couldn't even get through the first hour.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan 04-13-16
    Susan 04-13-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Boring"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret A. Miller 03-22-16 Member Since 2016
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    2
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    "An old man's musings"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karlyn Keller 03-13-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Interesting on the surface, I guess."

    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?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne Hoag State College, PA 10-27-15
    Anne Hoag State College, PA 10-27-15

    Anne in Happy Valley

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Everyone loves this book but me"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I could not get into this book. The premise bored me.


    What was most disappointing about Marilynne Robinson’s story?

    Did not care about the character who narrated the story.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Tim Jerome’s performances?

    Yes, he was good.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Gilead?

    I don't think readers play that role. That's for authors and their editors.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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