Monday, July 6, 2009

Home by Marilynne Robinson

In Home, Glory has come home to look after her ailing father. She's not been home long when they get word that Jack, the prodigal son, has decided to return. Glory's father, Robert, is ecstatic, but Glory isn't too sure about it. Because of the difference in age, Glory doesn't get along with Jack that well. In fact, she really doesn't know him that well. As her father's health continues to fail, Jack helps with the yard work and attends to his father, but is clearly bothered by something and he tries to keep to himself. Along the way, we learn more about the Jack's past, where's he been for 20 years and why he's returned. The story transports the reader to the 1950s, a simpler time when men wore suits even while at home and women were expected to be keepers of the house.

To say this book is beautifully written is an understatement. It's gorgeous with a lyrical quality to it. It took me a few pages to get into this story, though. I guess I've been reading novels that are more plainly written and less complex and it took me some time to get into the rhythm. Once I did, though, I loved every word. The theological discussions amongst the characters were especially interesting. Theoretical without being preachy.

Robinson's characters were exceptional, complex, fascinating and flawed. Jack made me wary and filled my head with questions. Why come back? Why now? Why leave the first place? I think Glory may have felt a little of this at the beginning. She didn't trust him. Jack's return brought them all closer together, yet there still remained some distance between them.

Jack's comment to Glory about not belonging in the house in Gilead, got me thinking about the word "home". Where is home? Is it the place you grew up? Is it the place where you're heart is (isn't that a saying or something?) Is it where all your stuff is? Is the location important or can "home" be anywhere your family happens to be living? And perhaps the one question that kept popping up: Can you ever go home again?

There are many wonderful and delicious passages scattered throughout the book. I wished I'd marked some of them for inclusion here, but I was so caught up in the reading, I didn't. I just know that this review really isn't doing the book justice. It's simply one of the most beautiful books I've read in a long time. Writing, characters, storyline...all divine. Even the cover is gorgeous. It's so reminiscent of the setting and to me it just says "home".

Highly recommended. I'm now really looking forward to reading Robinson's other books, especially Gilead which is, I believe, the another side of the same story told from another character's perspective.

For more information about this book or to Browse Inside, please visit the HarperCollins Canada website.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for your comment. I really appreciate it. Unfortunately, I've been getting lots of spam comments, so I'm turning on word verification to help keep spammers away. I know it's a pain; I don't like it either. Hopefully, in time I'll be able to turn it off again. Thank you!