Title Profile & Character Information

Gilead

Annotation
2005 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Fiction
2004 National Book Critics Circle Winner
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.

Gileadis 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.


Awards
2004  New York Times Notable Books of the Year
2005  National Book Critics Circle Awards
2005  Pulitzer Prize
2006  American Library Association Notable Books
2005  Ambassador Book Awards
2004  New York Times Editors' Choice


Author Notes
  Marilynne Robinson teaches at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop.
Characters
NameAmes, John
GendersMale
 Male
OccupationsMinister
 Minister
TraitsWidower
Remarried
Father
Widower
Remarried
Father

GenreDiary
Domestic
    --Generational
    --Generational
Fiction
Historical
TopicsFamily histories
Clergy
Fathers and sons
Journals
Family histories
Diaries
Heritage
Hardship
Faith
Forgiveness
Family histories
Clergy
Fathers and sons
Journals
Family histories
Diaries
Heritage
Hardship
Faith
Forgiveness
SettingGilead, Iowa
Iowa
Gilead, Iowa
Iowa
Small town
Small town