Glory Boughton, aged 38, has returned to Gilead to care for her dying father. Soon her brother, Jack - the prodigal son of the family, gone for 20 years - comes home too, looking for refuge and trying to make peace with a past littered with tormenting trouble and pain.
Jack is one of the great characters in recent literature. A bad boy from childhood, an alcoholic who cannot hold a job, he is perpetually at odds with his surroundings and with his traditionalist father, though he remains Boughton's most beloved child. Brilliant, lovable, and wayward, Jack forges an intense bond with Glory and engages painfully with Ames, his godfather and namesake.
Home is a moving and healing book about families, family secrets, and the passing of the generations, about love and death and faith. It is Robinson's greatest work, an unforgettable embodiment of the deepest and most universal emotions.
©2008 Marilynne Robinson; (P)2008 Macmillan Audio
"Robinson's beautiful new novel, a companion piece to her Pulitzer Prize - winning Gilead, is an elegant variation on the parable of the prodigal son's return." (Publishers Weekly)
I loved Marilynne Robinson's last book, Gilead. As the mother of 3 sons and the only sister with 3 brothers, I read and reread Robinson's words in the voice of Ames, the Congregationalist minister, about the trust that parents must have before they, like Abraham, can send their sons into the wilderness. She writes beautifully, and she clearly has much theological thought and study behind her. This book, which included the same characters, shows what happens when that trust isn't enough. Jack Boughton, prodigal son of Ames' friend, Robert Boughton, comes home, bringing all his misery along with him. He seems repentant, but seems still to wallow, and perhaps even enjoy, his past transgressions. It gets rather tiresome and we lose patience with him. Robinson's beautiful theological reflections remain in this book, however, and, because I liked rereading and referring to them, I wish I had read the book instead of listening to it. Also, the reader's voice was a little too Charlton Heston for my taste. That too, got a little tedious.
Robinson is an absolute master at creating worlds populated by real people. I feel as though I know these characters. Having read Gilead, which overlaps somewhat with Home, I can only marvel even more at Robinson's talent for narration that is so very true to the human spirit. The same events, viewed by a next-door neighbor, bear a completely different significance. This novel carries an entirely different weight from the theme explored in Gilead. Robinson has said that she aims to write characters, not plot, and not much does actually happen. All the same, the beauty of these people, their house and this town seem so real that if I could actually find them in Iowa, I would seem to be returning, not arriving for the first time.
The reader has a wonderful knack for conveying all the emotion in the simplicity of Robinson's neat, well-crafted sentences. Perhaps it is because I am from the Midwest myself, but I was particularly touched Ms. Reed's ability to hint at emotion in dialogue between characters who would never willingly discuss such things openly. The implied, the understood and the subtle code of the small Midwestern town figure so prominently in the dialogue of Home, and Ms. Reed manages beautifully what would seem to me the most difficult task of reading this particular novel aloud.
Marilynne Robinson is going to be regarded one of the great American writers. The cadence of her story telling pulls the reader. Each sentence carries it's own strength. This particular story takes place in a familiar setting: the mid-western plains. It's a slow and rolling life the people live there and this story brings that point to reality. This is a slow and rolling story. The 'son who comes home' is frustrated with his own life and Robinson shows that frustration by making the reader frustrated with the character. However, the sister who is at home is, ultimately, as frustrating as her brother. Then, the disappointed and loving dad, ties the story together. I loved how Robinson made me examine myself and my own beliefs about family and family interaction by letting me look into these peoples' lives. The story is simply - GREAT.
The reader was top notch! I hope to hear more from her. Be warned: If you are looking for light reading - don't try this book because it makes you work. (I think it also makes the reader ask questions about himself or herself that lots of people would rather not ask). I suspect that Robinson threatens her students the same as she threatens her readers: don't come into this room with me unless you are serious about story telling. Marilynne Robinson is one of the most serious story tellers I've read in many years. Her stories are classic and I appreciate that she takes time out of her life to tell me a story.
I had to stop listening to this book, I was so irritated by the person reading I found I could no longer concentrate on the plot. She drones on and on--like a really bad Joan Crawford immitation. This is only the second time I've given up on a book.
I have read Gilead - Marilynne Robinsons other book, and loved her use of language and story. BUT...the narrator for this story makes it unlistenable. I am going to have to waste the credit as I cannot listen any more. Her voice goes automatically down at the end of every sentence - so that no matter what the sentence is, one feels plunged into utter gloom and despair.
I wish I had read the reviews for this book before buying. The book itself, I believe, is wonderful but the narration makes it one of the worst audible books on the list. This version should be avoided
This is a beautifully executed novel, maybe the saddest I've read in a long time, but that's by no means a criticism! Unlike some of the reviewers, I thought the narration was fantastic--absolutely professional, and the movement from voice to voice was as far as I am concerned flawless.
I love Marilynne Robinson writings and this is a wonderful book. I listened to Gilead a couple of years ago, and I think this one is even better. It is difficult to conceive both books separately once you have read (or listen) to them. The story is about family interactions and I am not going to spoil it for you. It is written in such wonderful prose that it takes your breath away.
The narrator of this book is good. It always takes me an hour or so to get accustomed to a new voice, so try to get over the initial hump and she becomes a convincing Glory. I did not like the characterization of Boughton the father, because his voice was a little annoying, but I suspect in real life I would have found his *real* voice annoying too.
Housekeeping was about sisterhood, Gilead is about fatherhood, Home is brotherhood. I am dying to see Marilynne Robinson talk about motherhood. I want to hear more about the stories of Della and her son Robert and Ames wife Lila and her son.
I cannot wait until Marilynne Robinson next book. I think she is one of the most gifted authors of contemporary American literature.
This was the worst book to which I've ever listened. The reader's voice was annoying. The theme was totally predictable. The "prodigal son" was nothing more than a loser alcoholic. I hated it and only kept listening because I thought it would get better, which it did not. Save your money. This is the 1st book on which I've left a negative comment.
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