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Home (2008)

by Marilynne Robinson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Gilead (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,1621403,161 (3.98)582
Glory Boughton, aged thirty-eight, has returned to Gilead to care for her dying father. Soon her brother, Jack--the prodigal son of the family, gone for twenty years--comes home too, looking for refuge and trying to make peace with a past littered with tormenting trouble and pain.

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» See also 582 mentions

English (137)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  All languages (142)
Showing 1-5 of 137 (next | show all)
Sad that these good people keep talking past and misunderstanding each other. Why are they all so repressed? But typical Robinson insight and delicacy. ( )
  RGilbraith | May 23, 2021 |
This is a highly acclaimed novel and winner of the Orange Prize.

It has profound observations on family, home, sibling dynamics, faith, father-son relationships and sin.

We spend most of our time with Jack, the prodigal son who has returned after twenty year absence, his saintly, sweet sister Glory and the patriarch of the family, Reverend Boughton, who is dying.

I really wanted to like this novel more than I did.

We all have certain types of stories that appeal to us more than others. I don’t have to have nonstop action to appreciate a story but I found myself able to put this book down much more often than is optimal. I guess the story wore me down and I just wanted Jack to leave for God’s sake. And for Glory’s. I got tired of his “I’m worthless – don’t waste your time on me” spiel.

That, obviously, is a reflection on me, not the novel. I’m getting crotchety and impatient, I suppose.

Nevertheless, I couldn’t give this novel anything less than five stars. It is exquisitely written, it just wasn’t for me. ( )
  LenJoy | Mar 14, 2021 |
This is almost unbearably sad, in the way that families are. The Boughtons have as their patriarch a retired reverend and thenn there are 4 boys and 4 girls. Mostly scattered to the 4 winds, although they come back for holidays. At home there is just Glory, youngest daughter, with a failed relationship behind her and has come home in the absence of anywhere else to go. She is then the one stiuck at home, forced to play the dutiful daughter and be satisfied with her lot. Into this comes one of the brothers, Jack, the ne'er do well. He's clearly been in trouble, from a turbulent childhood to a disturbed adulthood. The two children nurse their aging father and try to put life straight between them, only there is so much past and history that it's hard to know what to say and not make a false step. Their pasts contrast with each other, and their futures are going to be very different, but for now they share this present. Where do we go wrong in life? And can we ever put that right? Probably not, but this novel is a testament to trying to do exactly that. ( )
  Helenliz | Dec 30, 2020 |
When I think of the town I was raised in, I am filled with all sorts of mixed emotion: sadness at how much has changed, frustration at how little it has changed, nostalgia to return and gratitude I did not. It is the place I came to be, where I was first known and seen, but it's also the first place I hurt, the place of my earliest regrets. In a sense, it is "home."

Home by Marilynne Robinson tells the story of Robert Boughton's last days, along with two of his adult children, Glory and Jack, who have returned to their hometown of Gilead to care for their aging father.

It was good, and I'd recommend it. I plan on reading Lila soon. ( )
  nrt43 | Dec 29, 2020 |
I have no words. I feel inadequate to write a review for this treatise on life in the fifties, family dynamics, and going home. Many emotions were stirred up as I read this novel. A favorite author of mine recommended it; otherwise, I would have never known about it. I will now read, "Gilead". I am sure I will be blown away by that one as well. This book will haunt me for a long time to come. ( )
  khoyt | Dec 26, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 137 (next | show all)
The glories of Gilead - and of Housekeeping, for that matter - have not quite found their way into Home. One reason for this may be Robinson's decision to write in the third person for the first time, thus suppressing one of her great gifts, which is the mix of wryness, wisdom and self-deprecation with which she infused her first two narrators' voices.
But what remains is Gilead's sense of how character, however unkindly, determines one's fate, which in Home arrives silently but powerfully, like a glacier leaving a raw gash in the landscape. Robinson's output may also be glacial, but the force her words leave in her wake is unmistakable.
added by melmore | editNPR, Lizzie Skurnick (Sep 19, 2008)
These ugly facts [of small-town racism] complicate the beauty of “Home,” but the way Robinson embeds them in the novel is part of what makes it so beautiful. It is a book unsparing in its acknowledgment of sin and unstinting in its belief in the possibility of grace. It is at once hard and forgiving, bitter and joyful, fanatical and serene. It is a wild, eccentric, radical work of literature that grows out of the broadest, most fertile, most familiar native literary tradition. What a strange old book it is.
added by melmore | editNew York Times, A. O. Scott (Sep 19, 2008)
The Reverend Boughton, is in decline. Glory, the youngest of his eight children, has come home to care for him, and both are grateful and alarmed when Jack, the prodigal son, reappears after an excruciating 20-year absence. Once a charming scoundrel, Jack is now riddled with regrets and despair. As she cares for two broken men struggling toward reconciliation and redemption, Glory is a paragon of patience, a virtue readers also must cultivate as Robinson follows an austere narrative regime, confining the reader to the day-by-day present and the Boughton home. Household chores are infused with metaphysical implications, while what is not said carries more weight than what is spoken. Robinson wrestles with moral dilemmas ordinary and catastrophic, and ponders the mystery of why human beings never feel wholly at home on earth. This is a rigorous, sometimes claustrophobic, yet powerfully spiritual novel of anguish and prayer, wisdom and beauty, penance and hope.
added by kthomp25 | editBooklist, Donna Seaman

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robinson, Marilynneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kampmann, EvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reed, Maggie-MegNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vlek, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Gilead (2)
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For Noah and Elise and for Beatrice
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"Home to stay, Glory! Yes!" her father said, and her heart sank.
The house embodied for him the general blessedness of his life, which was manifest, really indisputable. And which he never failed to acknowledge, especially when it stood over against particular sorrow. Even more frequently after their mother died he spoke of the house as if it were an old wife, beautiful for every comfort it had offered, ever grace, through all the long years. It was a beauty that would not be apparent to every eye.
”Yes,” the old man said, as he did when memory stirred. “Those were good times.”
No, it's a feeling I have always had, almost since you were a baby. As though there was something you needed from me and I never figured out what it was. … I just never knew another child who didn't feel at home in the house where he was born.
They had always been so careful of him, almost afraid to touch him. There was an aloofness about him more thoroughgoing than modesty or reticence. It was feral, and fragile. It had enforced a peculiar decorum on them all, even on their mother. There was always the moment when they acknowledged this – no hugging, no roughhousing could include him. Even his father patted his shoulder tentatively, shy and cautious. Whey should a child have defended his loneliness that way? But let him have his ways, their father said, or he would be gone. He'd smile at them across that distance, and the smile was sad and hard, and it meant estrangement, even when he was with them.
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Glory Boughton, aged thirty-eight, has returned to Gilead to care for her dying father. Soon her brother, Jack--the prodigal son of the family, gone for twenty years--comes home too, looking for refuge and trying to make peace with a past littered with tormenting trouble and pain.

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