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Home [Paperback]

Marilynne Robinson
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

16 April 2009

Hundreds of thousands of readers were enthralled and delighted by the luminous, tender voice of John Ames in Gilead, Marilynne Robinson's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

Now comes HOME, a deeply affecting novel that takes place in the same period and same Iowa town of Gilead. This is Jack's story. Jack - prodigal son of the Boughton family, godson and namesake of John Ames, gone twenty years - has come home looking for refuge and to try to make peace with a past littered with trouble and pain. 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 to Gilead, fleeing her own mistakes, to care for their dying father. Brilliant, loveable, wayward, Jack forges an intense new bond with Glory and engages painfully with his father and his father's old friend John Ames.

Frequently Bought Together

Home + Gilead + Housekeeping
Price For All Three: 18.87

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  • Gilead 6.29
  • Housekeeping 6.29

Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Virago (16 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844085503
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844085507
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marilynne Robinson was born in 1947. Her first novel, Housekeeping (1981) received the PEN/Hemingway award for best first novel as well as being nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Her second novel, GILEAD, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and her third, HOME, won the Orange Prize for Fiction.

Product Description


Her fiction attends with rapt attention to the "dear ordinary" breathing fresh air into the long-standing debates of American Protestantism (Kasia Boddy, DAILY TELEGRAPH)

'A quietly moving novel of faith and forgiveness. (Amber Pearson, DAILY MAIL)

'So finely wrought as to make the work of her more productive contemporaries seem tawdry by comparison . . . The cadences of her prose have a resonant authority more like that of a great music rather than language. The effect is utterly haunting. The bad news is that is makes all other writing seem jejune for ages afterwards (Jane Shilling, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

This is certainly a novel about faith and love. However, it is also a meditation on doubt and fear . . . There is both a subtlety and a simplicity about her most powerful themes. She asserts the elusiveness of perfection, the foolishness of sever self-ju (HERALD)


'One of the saddest books I have ever loved' --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
95 of 102 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The prodigal son comes home 4.5 stars 27 Nov 2008
By purpleheart TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
'Home to stay, Glory! Yes!' her father said, and her heart sank. He attempted a twinkle of joy at this thought, but his eyes were damp with commiseration. 'To stay for a while this time!' he amended, and took her bag from her, first shifting his cane to his weaker hand.'

Marilynne Robinson's Home opens with retired minister Robert Broughton's youngest daughter reluctantly returning to her father's house, her childhood home - essentially to nurse him as he dies. She is one of eight children, the only one free to take care of him. She has brought her own secrets back to her house - her life has not followed the conventions of 1950s small town America. Her brother Jack, the 'ne'er do well' of the family, the son most beloved of the father, writes to say that he will be coming home after twenty years.

The prodigal returns with a hangover but seeks to make amends for the disgrace he brought to the family as a youngster. We gradually learn of his wrongdoings as a boy and snippets of his life since. Though he is not religious he turns to John Ames, also a minister and Robert Broughton's life long friend - and for whom Jack was named - for a blessing and redemption. Jack's life is clearly still complicated - there is a woman he writes to but something has gone wrong. As readers we understand, perhaps, more about his relationship with Della and the secret involved there than his family living in the same house are able to pick up.

Everything slows down in the middle of the novel as Jack looks for work, fixes the De Soto in the garage, works in the garden and avoids booze. Glory and Jack start to grow close though their shared work about the house and garden, through small kindnesses to each other and in sharing the care of their father.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is home? 18 Sep 2009
Expecting a fast paced yarn or novel heavy on plot will disappoint readers, but if you allow yourself to let the stillness of the prose take you into the stifling world of the ailing rector's house and be part of each character's search for their own sense of 'home', you'll be rewarded. Home in the sense of the physical, the spiritual, the historical and family is all gently
considered. Whilst this exploration is thought provoking it's final inconclusiveness is the saddest conclusion of all possible endings and something that lasts a long time after the book is read. I loved it.
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another visit to Gilead 11 Feb 2009
By Jonathan Birch VINE VOICE
I mistakenly thought Marilynne Robinson's Home was a sequel to Gilead (2004). It's not. It's contemporaneous -- the same story from a different perspective, though knowledge of the earlier Pulitzer-winning novel is assumed. One almost wonders whether Home started life as a notebook for Gilead. Ever wondered what supporting characters in novels do when they're not on the page? No? Well now you can find out anyway. It's probably a good idea to leave all your expectations at the door with Home, as its markedly different to Robinson's previous novels.

Where Housekeeping (1980) and Gilead were masterful fictionalized memoirs that dove deep into their narrator's personal and family history, Home is a reasonably straightforward, third-person, temporally-continuous narrative. Jack Boughton arrives home after twenty years to live in the desolate house of his ailing minister father, Robert, and his heartbroken spinster sister, Glory.

Though the narration looks-in on the thoughts of Glory (now all but a servant to her father), Glory is primarily a spectator to the comings and goings of Jack, who is the central driving force in the plot. In his childhood, he fathered a child and ran away. He returns from his time in the wilderness disgraced, determined to win the support of his father and the Rev'd John Ames (his namesake and the narrator of Gilead), hoping against hope to build a settled life for himself in this isolated Iowa town, dreaming that his wife will return to him from St Louis.

It sounds like the setup for a great novel. And it is. But that novel is Gilead. Home, though still good, pales in comparison.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One half of a pair 1 Mar 2010
By Mrs. Katharine Kirby TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
`Home' and Gilead are, to me, as one and should be sold strapped firmly together. Neither makes total sense without the other but it doesn't matter which order in which you read them, just believe me they are less satisfactory taken singly. I can't really speak highly enough the kind of talent that can so lightly show the ability to carry two sides of a life story told from the two different viewpoints; that of a father and a god father. So flip sides of the coin they are and beautiful in their writing. Choking back tears as you read you may find yourself looking at the world in a new way. In seeing the story from two angles you gain a great deal of wider knowledge.

However, it is difficult and sometimes heavy stuff indeed, so may not appeal universally and I do see why. If you are ready to read at a slower pace and take on board the way of thinking that frets endlessly about the care of a soul, you will be rewarded. This reward will be a revelation, a fine portrait of a good old age and a deeper understanding regarding the importance of family.

Such eloquence as shown in the dialogue in these books is perhaps a thing of the past but what a gift it is. The beautiful old words of the Book of Common Prayer and the Holy Bible are a joy; they sparkle through some of the more dull religious arguments. Today the complicated feelings expressed in the words of the 1950's would include curses a thousand fold worse than the occasional taking of the Lords name in vain uttered by poor, poor Jack Broughton. No comfort in a crisis compared the ability to use an extensive vocabulary and glorious, educated language to explain.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a great novel
We've bought it for a friend who also loved it and I'm sure we'll get it for other friends as well
Published 2 months ago by Frank Cox
5.0 out of 5 stars incredible
Sensitive, delicate and heartbreaking....this book deals with core issues in such a moving way . I could not put it down.
Published 4 months ago by C. Falkiner
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
A nice book to read on holiday, not too demanding. Marilynne Robinson has an easy, fluid style which is a pleasure to read
Published 8 months ago by Carolyn Gee
4.0 out of 5 stars Home Is Where The Heart Is
All of us at some point find a book that we find so eloquently written that we wish it would not end. 'Home' is that book for me. Read more
Published 11 months ago by prisrob
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply moving, emotionally subtle
I found this the most involving and moving novel I have read for many years. Emotionally true, painful and challenging.
Published 17 months ago by Elma Sinclair
3.0 out of 5 stars Accomplished writing
A story of a few months in the life of frail elderly Reverend Boughton in 1950s Iowa; his daughter Glory, having had disappointments in her own life, comes home to care for him,... Read more
Published 22 months ago by sally tarbox
4.0 out of 5 stars Simply sad
Marilynne Robinson's "Home" is hard to describe, but I'd say that it is more about emotional impact on the reader than enjoyment of story. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Blue in Washington
4.0 out of 5 stars Subtle, complex
How do you forgive someone who is broken but not exactly repentant? How can the broken forgive those who brought them up in such rigid religious ways that much can never be spoken... Read more
Published on 6 Nov 2011 by sparkle1
4.0 out of 5 stars no place like home
this book was recommended to me to read, and it isn't until afterwards as you reflect on it that you grow to like the story and the way it's told. Read more
Published on 29 Oct 2011 by eh
1.0 out of 5 stars Just didn't get it
I'm afraid I'm another of those who found this dull and intolerably slow.

The characters are unconvincing, unsympathetic and irritating. Read more
Published on 20 Oct 2011 by Annette Pacey
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