Reviews

Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Dutiful daughter Glory returns to care for her dying father, the Rev. Robert Boughton--as does his wild but still beloved son, Jack. Boughton is a close friend of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead's John Ames, so readers will know and appreciate the territory. With a national tour; reading group guide. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Robinson's Gilead (2004), a contemplative novel in the voice of septuagenarian Reverend John Ames, enthralled readers and earned a Pulitzer Prize. A poetic and philosophical writer concerned about the state of the earth and our collective souls, Robinson returns to mid-1950s Gilead, Iowa, to tell a different facet of the same story. John's best friend, 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.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2008 Booklist


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

As she unfolds the story of bad-boy Jack's return to his family, Robinson effortlessly clarifies both fraught family relationships and the larger issues of mid-20th-century America in prose that gathers strength like a slow-moving but ominous storm. (LJ 8/08) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

This follow-up to Robinson's Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead (2004) is a concurrent narrative rather than a sequel, as if the earlier novel's journal entries had concluded with "Meanwhile...." The plot here concerns the large family of elderly Rev. Robert Broughton, specifically two of his adult children, who have returned to Iowa temporarily. Youngest sister Glory keeps house for her dying father, but her efforts are eclipsed by the reappearance of bad-boy favorite child Jack Ames Broughton two decades after a scandalous departure. Pain-filled and mysterious, Jack reengages uncomfortably with relations and neighbors, forcing them to confront perhaps unbearable truths about themselves and society. In Robinson's characteristically calm, measured language, the author creates three-dimensional characters that move believably within beautifully realized physical and psychological space as they confront (and challenge the reader with) deeply serious questions of faith, moral responsibility, and the racial divide in America. Fans of Gilead will be grateful for this expansion of the story--and for its closing hint of a possible return to the extended Ames/Boughton families, whose two small sons will carry their complicated heritage into the cultural revolutions of the 1960s. Highly recommended for all fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/08.]--Starr E. Smith, Fairfax Cty. PL, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.