Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Jack” as Want to Read:
Jack
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Jack

(Gilead)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,456 ratings  ·  395 reviews
Marilynne Robinson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Humanities Medal, returns to the world of Gilead with Jack, the latest in one of the great works of contemporary American fiction.

Jack  tells the story of John Ames Boughton, the beloved, erratic, and grieved-over prodigal son of a Presbyterian minister in Gilead, Iowa. In segregated St. Louis sometime after
...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 29th 2020 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
More Details... Edit Details

Win a Copy of This Book

  • Jack by Marilynne Robinson
    Jack

    Release date: Sep 09, 2020
    A New York Times bestseller

    Marilynne Robinson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Humanities Medal, returns to the world of Gilead with Jac
    ...more

    Format: Print book

    Giveaway ends in: a

    Availability: 5 copies available, 2919 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Nov 19 - Dec 02, 2020

    Countries available: U.S.

  • Friend Reviews

    To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

    Reader Q&A

    To ask other readers questions about Jack, please sign up.
    Popular Answered Questions
    Virginia Pulver They are both children of ministers and seem to enjoy intellectual stimulation rooted in the poetry and philosophy in religious matters. There is also…moreThey are both children of ministers and seem to enjoy intellectual stimulation rooted in the poetry and philosophy in religious matters. There is also an element of being attracted to a "bad boy". (less)
    Antenna Having read all the three previous books, and most recently reread Home, I would say that it is definitely beneficial to have read Home first, because…moreHaving read all the three previous books, and most recently reread Home, I would say that it is definitely beneficial to have read Home first, because one understands more of the allusions and Jack's early life. I admit that Home will tell you more about "what comes later", but I think I would have found some parts of Jack hard to follow without more background knowledge.(less)

    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    Average rating 4.04  · 
    Rating details
     ·  1,456 ratings  ·  395 reviews


    More filters
     | 
    Sort order
    Start your review of Jack
    Angela M
    Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing

    This is one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve read in a very long time.

    “After years of days that were suffered and forgotten, no more memorable than any particular stone in his shoe, here, in a cemetery, in the middle of the night, he was caught off guard by the actual turn of events, something that mattered, a meeting that would empty his best thoughts of their pleasure . “

    Jack Boughton, son of a minister, gone from his home in Gilead, Iowa, now in St. Louis, recently out of prison, for
    ...more
    Elyse  Walters
    Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Loved it....
    .....I loved the pure beauty of the gracefully written words....the feelings they stimulated in me.
    Each sentence seemed to be fierce and affecting.
    Spiritual, morally and emotionally complex ‘novels’ are exceptionally rare....
    Marilynne Robinson is ‘exceptionally’ rare....
    Her entire body-of-work is quietly powerful.

    Reading, *Jack* [an affecting novel during the 1950’s], came at a perfect time...absolutely perfect! With all the racial upheaval happening in 2020...
    and many American’s
    ...more
    Diane S ☔
    Sep 10, 2020 rated it liked it
    3.5. When one opens this book one expects , because after all this is Marilynne Robinson, some pretty fantastic prose. This is what I found, the writing was beautiful. So why then did this not appeal to me as much as Gilead or even Lila? Can I bake it in Covid? Possibly, but this is a very introspective novel, and as such it was, for the most part, one sided. Jack's story and his thoughts, fears about his relationship with Della, rather repetitive as he goes back and forth, again and again. This ...more
    Dolors
    Oct 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Recommends it for: The good, the bad, the pensive
    Reading “Jack” has been both pleasure and pain for this reader.
    To begin with, the novel has made me realize that I wasn’t truly prepared to immerse myself into such an intense journey as the Gilead trilogy when I tackled it a couple of years ago.
    I certainly liked the gracious writing back then, the dense, almost oppressive rhythm of the narration and the theological pondering that pulsated underneath the breath of each character, but I failed to grasp the vast understanding this writer possesse
    ...more
    Debbie
    Well, this was a bust.

    I tried, I really did, but it was off with its head at the halfway mark. It had all the good stuff—it’s well written and an excellent character study, with plenty of psychological insight. No waxing poetic about tree stumps and caterpillars, yay! And the main character is self-effacing, always a draw for me. The only interesting part is that it’s a love story between a white man (bum) and a black woman (teacher), and this takes place in the Midwest in the 1950s, where prej
    ...more
    Gumble's Yard
    Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: 2020
    Published today 29/09/20

    It is odd, what families do to their children—Faith, Hope, Grace, Glory, the names of his good, plain sisters like an ascending scale of spiritual attainment, a veritable anthem, culminating in, as they said sometimes, the least of these, Glory, who fretted at her own childishness, the hand-me-down, tag-along existence of the eighth of eight children. He himself, who aspired to harmlessness, was named for a man who was named for a man remembered, if he was, for antique
    ...more
    Marialyce
    Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    A wonderfully written introspective on two people who are lonely, hurt, and find one another and share their beliefs and love. It's a keen look at John Ames Boughton, the son of a Presbyterian minister, and Della Miles, an African American, daughter of a preacher. Taking place in Gilead, the well. known place of the books that precede this one, we find a beautiful love story, one that transcends time and the unrest and discrimination of the South.

    Jack is ever so troubled, seeing himself as less
    ...more
    Diane Barnes
    Oct 09, 2020 rated it liked it
    A beautiful love story between a disreputable white man who in his own words is a bum, and a black woman who is a highly educated high school English teacher. This was St. Louis in the 50's, so even though not the deep south, still an illegal relationship.
    Maybe it was me, maybe it's the times we find ourselves in right now, but I could not enjoy it or find value in the story at all. It was told from Jack's point of view, and his head was not a pleasant place to be. Frankly, I found it oppressive
    ...more
    Cheri

    Jack Boughton is the son of Gilead, Iowa’s Minister Boughton, named after John Ames, the preacher and narrator of Robinson’s Gilead. This fourth in Robinson’s connected volumes is his story, revealing much about Jack, and the woman he meets, and falls in love with. Della Miles – a teacher who is the daughter of an important black family in Memphis.

    Jack is viewed by others as a good-for-nothing bum, indeed, he views himself a less-than. He is a man who has been to prison, a draft dodger during W
    ...more
    Barbara
    Oct 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Marilynne Robinson’s “Jack” is her fourth installment of the Ames/Boughton family saga. True to her literary prowess this is a beautifully written novel that brings the reader into an American cultural era, in this story, post WWII and the Jim Crow time. Reading “Jack” requires full attention to detail, to every long sentence.

    “Gilead” is still my favorite in the saga. I continue to find that novel to be one of the most memorable to me. If one is to read any of her novels, “Gilead” is the one to
    ...more
    Michael
    A delightfully slow love story set in St. Louis sometime in the post-war 40s or early 50s. You root for it to work out, but worry that it won’t given that the man is white and the woman black at a time when even cohabitation is illegal in Missouri and many other states. The beauty is in how the tale is told and Robison’s skill in character development and engaging a reader’s fascination with the unfolding relationship and its fate.

    In tone and setting, this novel is very much in keeping with he
    ...more
    Barbara
    Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: read-in-2020
    Coming out of my cage no-reviews for 2020 silence to say that I want this to be shot straight into my veins.

    Edit: I am going to leave the original "review" up because it still encapsulates succinctly how I feel about Robinson's writing. Now, on to the actual review.

    Jack's story was always going to be about grace and predestination. If I had to encapsulate Jack it would be using a quote from Gilead:
    Love is holy because it is like grace--the worthiness of its object is never really what matters.
    ...more
    Paul Fulcher
    Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: 2020, net-galley
    Marilynne Robinson's Gilead was my novel of the year in 2015 when I came to it, and the other volumes of the trilogy, Home and Lila, rather belatedly on the publication of the last of the three, particularly notable for its reverent and sympathetic, but at the same time theologically questioning exploration of religious faith, a rare thing indeed in modern literature.

    The three novels were (as Rachel Sykes observes in this article http://ijas.iaas.ie/issue-6-rachel-sy...) more "simultaneous texts
    ...more
    Krista
    Sep 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: netgalley, 2020, arc
    I’m a gifted thief. I lie fluently, often for no reason. I’m a bad but confirmed drunk. I have no talent for friendship. What talents I do have I make no use of. I am aware instantly and almost obsessively of anything fragile, with the thought that I must and will break it. This has been true of me my whole life. I isolate myself as a way of limiting the harm I can do. And here I am with a wife! Of whom I know more good than you have any hint of, to whom I could do a thousand kinds of harm, n
    ...more
    Kenny
    Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    So wonderful.
    Jenny (Reading Envy)
    Friday, the 2021 Tournament of Books Long list came out, and I had a healthy number of books from it already on hand that I hadn't read yet. So I picked up this book, which I had from the publisher through Edelweiss but was a bit delayed in reading.

    This book fits in with all the Gilead novels, which tell pieces of the same story from different perspectives. I was surprised when Lila came out and definitely didn't expect another one after that. Since a lot of people ask, you can read this as a st
    ...more
    Dan
    Aug 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Marilynne Robinson is among a handful of my favorite contemporary novelists. Based on her initial four novels, I think of Robinson as Nobel Prize worthy. Jack, Robinson’s latest, is her fifth novel and the fourth of her Gilead series, in which she has created a seemingly simple but emotionally rich world with a small cast of memorable characters searching to understand themselves, each other, their lives, and their relationship to their faiths. I’ve admired and appreciated Robinson for her caref ...more
    Joseph
    When I read Marilynne Robinson’s “Gilead” some years back, I felt it was one of the best books I had come across in a long time. Set in in 1950s Iowa, it consists of a long letter from a dying 76-year old Congregationalist minister John Ames to his little son, the unexpected blessing of his old age. As Ames sifts through his memories, the story of his family (particularly his preacher father and grandfather) and the community which they served starts to take shape. Old pains and preoccupations r ...more
    SueLucie
    Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: netgalley
    I would rate all three of the previous books in this series amongst my all-time favourites so it was a privilege to be able to read this one early. Even though years have gone by since I read the earlier ones I thought I could remember them quite well. I was intrigued to read how Jack’s life had gone during his ‘wilderness’ years and how he came to meet Della, but was itching to hear about the rest of the family. This is Jack’s story, though, and he is estranged from them so not to be. I found t ...more
    Kasa Cotugno
    The timing of publication of this book and its stunning account of interracial connection during Jim Crow couldn't be more fortuitous, with all the current racial upheaval. Marilynne Robinson is truly a writer's writer, an inspiration and mentor to writers of renown (I know at least one personally, and his assessment means a lot -- he says "She uses full sentences when she writes.") All that in mind, it took a while to read this rich, intense novel, No. 4 in Robinson's Gilead universe. Because e ...more
    Tiffany
    My review of _Jack_ is UP at Front Porch Republic! https://www.frontporchrepublic.com/20...

    For friends--Goodreads reader JARED HACKWORTH and his review of _Home_ get a shoutout in the first paragraph!
    ...more
    Julie
    Oct 10, 2020 rated it liked it
    I really really wanted to like this book and did almost quit halfway. I checked the ratings and decided to finish it. Truthfully I don't know enough about Hamlet, Methodists or Presbyterians to understand what the problem was besides being an inter-racial couple. Ironically I am also watching the latest Fargo series and it is set in 1950 in Kansas City and it has a mixed marriage that seems to be just fine. I did like the ending. Basically it is life. Just deal with it and hope for the best.
    Jill
    Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Reading the fourth and final novel in Marilynne Robinson’s brilliant and luminous Gilead series reminds me of traveling home to a beloved place. The first time you visit is very special: you can’t even imagine any experience ever surpassing it. But then each time you go back, you see it from another perspective; even though the emotions change, the enduring love does not.

    Those of us who have had the privilege of reading the other books know Jack, if only peripherally. He is the son of a preacher
    ...more
    Nancy
    Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: netgalley
    I read Marilynne Robinson's novel Gilead when it came out in 2004. A few years later I read it again with a church book club, and four years again I read it a third time for a book club.

    It is a gorgeous,profound novel written as a letter by an elderly preacher to his young son. The narrator, John Ames, is conflicted about his best friend's ne'er-do-well son, Jack. Jack has returned to Gilead to visit his ailing father. His presence is a torment to John Ames who fears his young wife will be drawn
    ...more
    switterbug (Betsey)
    Sep 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
    JACK, which occurs circa 1946, is a prequel to HOME, which happens a decade later. The Gilead books are now a quartet, but obviously not sequential. Robinson must have decided she had a lot more to say about Jack and Della, set in the Jim Crow era, when even Black veterans coming home from WW II were met with segregation and violence. Della is the daughter of an educated and successful Methodist minister from Memphis, who meets Jack. Gilead readers know Jack as the prodigal son of a Presbyterian ...more
    J.C.
    Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Once, in finesse of fiddles found I ecstasy,
    In the flash of gold heels on the hard pavement.
    Now see I
    That warmth’s the very stuff of poesy.
    Oh, God, make small
    The old star-eaten blanket of the sky,
    That I may fold it round me and in comfort lie
    ”.

    The Embankment by T E Hulme
    (The fantasia of a fallen gentleman on a cold, bitter night.)


    So, here, at last, is Jack, referred to in the previous book, “Lila”, only as “except the one”; the one who is defined by being different from his family. Lik
    ...more
    Lou
    Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    The inimitable Marilynne Robinson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Women's Fiction Prize, the National Book Critics Prize and The American National Humanities Medal, returns to the world of Gilead with Jack, the long-awaited fourth and final novel in one of the great works of contemporary literature. Setting her novel in the time just before Gilead, Home and Lila, after World War II, JACK is John Ames Boughton's book. With Jack, Robinson takes her readers back to the small town of Gilead, Iowa ...more
    Lavinia
    Sep 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: arcs, 2020, in-en
    Just like Gilead, it’s slow paced, meditative, obviously influenced by religious concepts, and poetic (literally, poetry place such an important role, from Frost to Shakespeare's Hamlet and many others in between). On the other hand, it’s imbued with the racial tensions of the '50s, threats and hostilities. Jack is troubled, haunted by past choices, regret, guilt, constantly doubting himself, and oh, so human, he’s now part of the gallery of my favourite book characters.

    Maybe reading Jack right
    ...more
    Ron Charles
    Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Can love save a man from perdition?

    That question, braided with romance and religion, is at the heart of Marilynne Robinson’s new novel, “Jack.”

    Since 2004 when she published “Gilead,” which won a Pulitzer Prize, Robinson has been exploring the lives of two families led by Protestant ministers in a fictional Iowa town. These thoughtful novels are not sequels in the traditional sense, but they’re part of the same chord; they depend upon one another for tone and resonance. “Jack,” the fourth Gilead
    ...more
    Mike W
    Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    I was excited to hear the news last year that Marilynne Robinson was adding to the world of Gilead and especially that this newest novel would focus on the character Jack. This is a beautiful novel from a woman who may well lay claim to the title of America’s greatest living author. She’s certainly on the shortlist. And Jack couldn’t have arrived at a more appropriate time, doing what good fiction should do best, engendering empathy, and exploring what it means to be human in specific situations ...more
    « previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
    There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

    Readers also enjoyed

    • El infinito en un junco
    • Lectura fácil
    • Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System That Rules the World
    • Malina
    • Skyggedanseren
    • The Body: A Guide for Occupants
    • Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre
    • The Topeka School
    • Everything My Mother Taught Me
    • The Last Trial (Kindle County Book 11)
    • Monogamy
    • Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion
    • The Memory Police
    • Ties That Tether
    • Finlay Donovan Is Killing It
    • The Cold Millions
    • A Deadly Education (The Scholomance, #1)
    • The Safe Place
    See similar books…
    3,686 followers
    Marilynne Summers Robinson (born November 26, 1943) is an American novelist and essayist. Across her writing career, Robinson has received numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2005, National Humanities Medal in 2012, and the 2016 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. In 2016, Robinson was named in Time magazine's list of 100 most influential people.[2] Robinson be ...more

    Other books in the series

    Gilead (4 books)
    • Gilead
    • Home
    • Lila

    Related Articles

    The Pulitzer winner returns to the small town of Gilead to examine the human condition and the deprived childhood of a minister's wife in her...
    73 likes · 19 comments
    No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
    “I think most people feel a difference between their real lives and the lives they have in the world. But they ignore their souls, or hide them, so they can keep things together, keep an ordinary life together. You don’t do that. In your own way, you’re kind of—pure.” 2 likes
    “Those who can't hope can still wish.” 1 likes
    More quotes…