Author: Marilynne Robinson
Publisher: Farrar, Strous and Giroux
# of pages: 247
Date read: 8/9/2010
Rating: 4*/5 = great
"In 1956, near the end of Reverend John Ames life, he begins a letter to his young son, and account of himself and his forbears. Ames is the son of an Iowa preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine, saw a vision of Christ 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 inthe Union Army, losing his right eye in battle. Reverend Ames writes to his on 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 the 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 sold 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. ' -- from the inside flap
I found this book emotionally moving and thought-provoking. I liked how John reflected on his relationship with his father and his father's relationship with his father.