Books I Loathed discussion

Loathed Titles > Gilead

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message 1: by Jrobertus (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:37AM) (new)

Jrobertus | 3 comments Here comes a spirited discussion. I think Marilynne Robinson's book "House-Keeping" (1980) is a masterpiece. Like many people I eagerly awaited her second novel which appear in 2004. It is called Gilead, and to me it was a terrific disappointment. It has some interesting characters, and some interesting stories, but the whole thing is less than the sum of its parts. It is long winded, often boring, and I could not understand the angst of many of the characters, or give a hoot about them. I hope her third novel, now underway, goes back to the simple elegance of House-Keeping. I know both my wife and daughter Clare loved Gilead, and they are both very literate and one of them (I won't say which, except she is the younger of the two) can be very sharp tongued, so now I sit here trembling, awaiting the response!

message 2: by Kate (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:37AM) (new)

Kate (katiebobus) | 136 comments Mod
I totally agree about Gilead. Robinson's prose is elegant, to be sure, and at first I was just in awe of it. I liked the stories of the grandfather's generation and how the thinking across the lineage of pastors evolved (or perhaps just differed). But I just couldn't buy the secret that redeemed the narrator's enemy, his best friend's prodigal son. Also, given that he was the source of the narrator's state of weakness, it took too long for this character to even come up. I felt pretty ripped off, because reading to the end took a lot of focus.

message 3: by Jessica (thebluestocking) (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:19PM) (new)

Jessica (thebluestocking) (jessicaesq) I agree with a critic's description of Gilead as "serene." I came to this book without having read Housekeeping. Gilead swept me up into its soothing narrative and unique characters. While I agree that there was not a lot of plot movement, I think life oftentimes lacks plot elements. This novel was very real to me, and I look forward to reading it again in a few years.

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