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.
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.
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