WINNER OF THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2009
AN OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB PICK
Jack Boughton - prodigal son - has been gone twenty years. He returns home seeking refuge and to make peace with the past. A bad boy from childhood, an alcoholic who cannot hold down a job, Jack is perpetually at odds with his surroundings and with his traditionalist father, though he remains Boughton's most beloved child. His sister Glory has also returned, fleeing her own mistakes, to care for their dying father. A moving book about families, about love and death and faith, Home is unforgettable. It is a masterpiece.
'One of the greatest living novelists' BRYAN APPLEYARD, SUNDAY TIMES
'A luminous, profound and moving piece of writing. There is no contemporary American novelist whose work I would rather read' MICHAEL ARDITTI, INDEPENDENT
'Her novels are replete with a sense of felt life, with a deep and abiding sympathy for her characters and a full understanding of their inner lives' COLM TOIBIN
'Utterly haunting' JANE SHILLING, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
This bittersweet novel about the complexities of family is best read with a box of tissues nearby. A sequel of sorts to Marilynne Robinson’s Pulitzer-winning Gilead, Home takes place in the same small Iowa town during the same 1950s time frame, but it’s a standalone story. When ailing minister Robert Boughton gets a visit from two of his eight children, Glory and Jack, the family’s emotional turmoil bubbles to the surface. Jack’s a lifelong ne’er-do-well who fled town 20 years ago, while a broken engagement has left Glory emotionally shattered. The three family members awkwardly dance around their problems in a way that’s both relatable and heartbreaking, struggling to love each other despite their profound feelings of anger, envy and disappointment. The Boughtons are far from perfect, but their flaws reveal many emotional truths about families and the human condition. Robinson nails the push and pull of family dynamics.
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. The son is Jack Boughton, one of the eight children of Robert Boughton, the former Gilead, Iowa, pastor, who now, in 1957, is a widowed and dying man. Jack returns home shortly after his sister, 38-year-old Glory, moves in to nurse their father, and it is through Glory's eyes that we see Jack's drama unfold. When Glory last laid eyes on Jack, she was 16, and he was leaving Gilead with a reputation as a thief and a scoundrel, having just gotten an underage girl pregnant. By his account, he'd since lived as a vagrant, drunk and jailbird until he fell in with a woman named Della in St. Louis. By degrees, Jack and Glory bond while taking care of their father, but when Jack's letters to Della are returned unopened, Glory has to deal with Jack's relapse into bad habits and the effect it has on their father. In giving an ancient drama of grace and perdition such a strong domestic setup, Robinson stakes a fierce claim to a divine recognition behind the rituals of home.
Brilliant story, beautiful writing.