Joy H.'s Reviews > Gilead

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
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_Gilead_ (2004) by Marilynne Robinson
Added 9/30/08.
Read in December 2008.
Edited 4/10/11
Discursive novel about a minister telling of his father and grandfather, etc. It's told as a letter (see underlining in Phillip's review below) to his young son to be read by the son when he gets older. Seems to ramble.

Edited 4/11/11:
See Philip's GR review at:
"An unhurried and introspective character study laced with some beautiful writing. The story unfolds as a series of journal entries meant to be read by the narrator's young son at some unknown future place and time. ... much of the book involves spiritual musings and theological ponderings... [See more at above link.]

See the Constant Reader Group's discussion of this book (in December 2008) at:

Edit 2/19/12:
AWARDS AND HONORS (copied and pasted from ):
Pulitzer Prize (Fiction, 2005)
National Book Critics Circle Award (Fiction, 2004)
Ambassador Book Award (Fiction, 2005)
Guardian 1000 (Love)
Orange Prize Longlist (2006)
All Iowa Reads (2006)
PEN/Faulkner Award finalist (2005)

12/22/12 - Today I found the following in a NY Times essay:
"The most emphatically Christian character in contemporary American fiction is the Rev. John Ames, who in Marilynne Robinson’s novel “Gilead” writes, in old age, to his young son as he prepares for death in 1957. More epistle than epic, the novel is historical fiction in mufti, with a strand of the story going back to the Civil War. And yet it arrived in 2004 as a tract for the times. It presented liberal Protestantism as America’s classical heritage; it set Ames’s wise, tender reverence against the bellicose cymbal-clanging of George W. Bush’s White House.

"With “Gilead” Robinson took O’Connor’s insight about “do-it-yourself religion” back to church, creating a minister whose belief is believable because it is so plainly the fruit of a personal search. But the novel’s originality conceals the fact that, as a novel of belief, it is highly representative: set in the past, concerned with a clergyman, presenting belief as a family matter, animated by a social crisis."
2/13/15 - On this date, I came across a question at the quiz website, The question was: "In which book [of the Bible] would you find the story of Gideon?" The correct answer was the "The Book of Judges". (Gideon was one of Israel's 15 judges.)
I was then reminded of this book, _Gilead_. I searched my Goodreads shelves and found it. In my mind I was confusing the words "Gideon" with "Gilead". Below are two webpages which answered some questions in my mind.

EXCERPT FROM WIKI: "Gilead is an epistolary novel that is the fictional autobiography of the Reverend John Ames, an elderly congregationalist pastor in the small, secluded town of Gilead, Iowa, who knows that he is dying of a heart condition."

EXCERPT FROM WIKI: "Gilead was, according to the Book of Numbers, the son of Machir, and hence the grandson of Manasseh, great-grandson of Joseph and greatx4 grandson of Abraham and Sarah. He also may have been the founder of the Israelite tribal group of Gilead, which is mentioned in Biblical passages which textual scholars attribute to early sources."

GILEAD HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GIDEON (except that they are both mentioned in the Bible! Isn't everything?) LOLOL
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Reading Progress

11/03/2008 page 162
11/16/2008 page 194
78.54% "The story is finally starting to get more interesting... *very* interesting!"
11/22/2008 page 271
100% "He's still ruminating."
11/22/2008 page 255
100% "I'm actually on p. 271 but when I entered that number the goodreads message said I was finished with the book. However, I'm reading the larg"
11/22/2008 page 255
100% "I'm actually on p. 271 but when I entered that number the Goodreads message said I was finished with the book. However, I'm reading the larg"
11/22/2008 page 255
100% "I'm actually on p. 271 but when I entered 271 the Goodreads message said I was finished with the bk. But I'm reading the large print bk."
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