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Publisher Description

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER• OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK • WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION • NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER• A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK • MORE THAN 1 MILLION COPIES SOLD

“Quietly powerful [and] moving.” O, The Oprah Magazine (recommended reading)

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award, GILEAD is a hymn of praise and lamentation to the God-haunted existence that Reverend Ames loves passionately, and from which he will soon part.

In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. Ames is the son of an Iowan preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine, saw a vision of Christ bound in chains and came west to Kansas to fight for abolition: He "preached men into the Civil War," then, at age fifty, became a chaplain in the Union Army, losing his right eye in battle.

Reverend Ames writes to his son about the tension between his father--an ardent pacifist--and his grandfather, whose pistol and bloody shirts, concealed in an army blanket, may be relics from the fight between the abolitionists and those settlers who wanted to vote Kansas into the union as a slave state. And he tells a story of the sacred bonds between fathers and sons, which are tested in his tender and strained relationship with his namesake, John Ames Boughton, his best friend's wayward son.

This is also the tale of another remarkable vision--not a corporeal vision of God but the vision of life as a wondrously strange creation. It tells how wisdom was forged in Ames's soul during his solitary life, and how history lives through generations, pervasively present even when betrayed and forgotten.

GENRE
Fiction & Literature
RELEASED
2004
November 15
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
346
Pages
PUBLISHER
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
SELLER
Macmillan
SIZE
5
MB

Customer Reviews

Nick Barb ,

Great novel, so-so narrator

Overall I really enjoyed reading this. Never read a piece of literature quite like it — a unique narrative flow in the form of a letter to the narrator’s son, with a plot that was partly linear, partly flashback, and partly something else altogether. Lots of great aphorisms throughout. However, the narrator frustrated me greatly by the end, as I found him to be rather unlikeable, and I’m not sure that I was supposed to! His views on Jack and the way he treated him upset me quite a bit. Definitely curious to read more in this series and experience other perspectives.

Kona Wahine ,

Highly recommend

I have been an avid reader for 50 years. Never have I finished a book, and immediately started over again until this book. The writing is so beautiful, so poetically simple, so lusciously written, I found myself sharing passages with my friends (another first for me). It is a beautiful, subtly written story of a truly self-examined life. I am an agnostic, so the fact that I could relate to and admire the main character in this book is another testament to this author's great talent.

gfeich ,

Almost truly great

At first I couldn’t put this book down. About halfway through, it started to get long, but it didn’t disappoint. Several times it started to lose my interest, but then it always brought me back. If a few of the storylines had been shortened a bit, this would be a strong 5-star review.

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