Gilead : Gilead

  • by Marilynne Robinson
  • Narrated by Tim Jerome
  • Series: Gilead
  • 8 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2005
National Book Critics Circle Award, Fiction, 2005
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 50, 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.
Gilead is the long-hoped-for second novel by one of our finest writers, a hymn of praise and lamentation to the God-haunted existence that Reverend Ames loves passionately, and from which he will soon part.


What the Critics Say

"Gilead is a beautiful work: demanding, grave, and lucid...Robinson's words have a spiritual force that's very rare in contemporary fiction." (The New York Times Book Review)
"The long wait has been worth it....Robinson's prose is beautiful, shimmering, and precise....Destined to become her second classic." (Publishers Weekly)
"[Gilead] is so serenely beautiful, and written in a prose so gravely measured and thoughtful, that one feels touched with grace just to read it." (The Washington Post Book World)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A book for dreaming over

Usually, I gobble books. Not this one. Exquisitely written, it begs the reader to pause, to ponder, to wonder, to marvel. So delicate, like leaves rustling in a light breeze. As the narrator ponders his life, so you cannot help but ponder your own. Here is a book full of spirit, a sermon if you like, without the preaching down to the reader. Instead it is an invitation to think with compassion about oneself, one's failings, one's relationships with God and man. Amazing.
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- Penelope Wisner

The wonder of retrospect

I feel that I listened to this book two and one half times due to the many rewinds I made in order to hear again the poetic charm of Robinson's use of our marvelous language. Emotions, concerns and recollections are expressed in a manner that I could feel as my own. Perhaps this is in part due to the wonderful narrator whose voice seemed to be perfect for a story cited on the plains of Iowa and Kansas. His voice had a rawness, a lonliness, a solid mid-american character that brought the words alive. I believe that I shall listen to this book again. It felt that good.
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- Jim

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-08-2005
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio