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Gilead Paperback – Jan 5 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 247 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd; First Thus edition (Jan. 5 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006393837
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006393832
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 14 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #27,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Susan W on Aug. 13 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a lovely, winsome, "restorative" kind of book. It was wonderful to share consciousness with the narrator of this book, who is such a gentle, well-intentioned individual that your heart wells up with pride that the human race could produce such a worthy specimen. Experiencing this book is like being given a warm coat when you're freezing, or a soft bed when you're exhausted, etc. -- it's nourishing or strengthening somehow. The creation of this character is amazing -- it never for a minute feels untrue, and yet a paragon such as this could never exist. It's several days since I finished Gilead, and I am only now struck by how artificially structured the story is (to create the contrasts of good and evil that the author is obviously interested in). It felt real and true throughout, and compelling. I want to read Housekeeping now, and also The Trail of the Lonesome Pine.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Reese McIntyre on April 12 2005
Format: Hardcover
Certainly the "themes" of GILEAD are nothing new, but what the author does with them is astounding. We've seen the father-son relationship theme explored in novels and movies such as BIG FISH and certainly BARK OF THE DOGWOOD explored not only that, but the theme of religion and history as well. But this new novel takes things a step further. I absolutely adored this novel. When John Ames tells the story of his family he makes his abolitionist preacher grandfather come alive and makes the reader a part of his history. Ames' voice read so true that I constantly had to remind myself that this was fiction. I had to stop reading to ruminate on both Robinson's perfectly selected words and on what they conveyed. I felt like Robinson had distilled the entire Old Testament into one psalm of love and grace. VERY insightful and full of hidden meaning (if you look for it), GILEAD deserves its place among the bestsellers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sancho Mahle on Feb. 21 2006
Format: Paperback
Gilead is a beautifully written book. Highly expressive and insightful, this story that spans four generations is centers on with John Ames, a preacher who upon realizing that his end is drawing near entrusts his son with the account of his an account of life and the lives of his forebears , an account which s more about ideas and that has at its core a mystery that is the source of inspiration in the story and that of course makes it so rich. The overriding idea behind the story is faith, courage, forgiveness, grace, friendship, solidarity and the lessons that should be learnt from human weaknesses such as self-indulgence, anger, hatred, and other blinding emotions. The softness with which this book is written takes away the serious nature of its message and of course makes it an interesting and worthy read.
I recommend this book along with Disciples of Fortune, The Union Moujik, The Usurper and Other stories, Housekeeping
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By Aggie G on Oct. 9 2013
Format: Paperback
I did not get this book. What is all the fuss about? I read a lot, and I read a lot of award winners, but this one just bored me SO much and I really didn't get the point. I didn't even love how it was written. It's VERY heavy on the religion, and it is very repetitive, and only near the end does anything of any interest happen. I was not a fan.
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By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Dec 20 2012
Format: Paperback
Robinson is one of those unpretentious writers who packs a lot of truth and substance into her words. Her stories are never full of aimless chatter or cheap filler because she believes in the importance of writing for clarity and purpose. "Gilead" is one of those delightful stories that puts the reader in touch with the values of the past as they continue to play out in the experiences of the present and the dreams of the future. Described here is the legacy of the Ames family as recounted in a letter from a dying father to a young son. In it he passes on a wonderfully rich and expansive tale of the aspirations of his antecedents as they played out in his life. As you read this book, be prepared to encounter intergenerational strife, dashed dreams, adversity in spades, and moments of doubt as the various family members attempt to serve God according to the dictates of their conscience. Friendships and familial relationships will be sorely tested as individuals decide to go their own way in life in search of truth, whether it be coming from other shores, larger conflicts like wars, worthy political causes, or just a sense of wanderlust. All these life-forces assert themselves in this comedy as conflicts that threaten the very integrity of an Ames' calling in life: to humbly serve God as ordained ministers in His church. A dying Reverend John Ames, the main character in this narrative, does not pretend to have any absolute answers to who God really is or how he acts other than the fact that his Heavenly Father has promised to give him wisdom to handle life's many challenges as they happen. It is this Christian confidence or hope that becomes the balm or healing power that John bequeaths to his young son and makes this novel the special read that it is. Women are regarded as the true pillars of virtue in life who remain faithful to their families even though they are often abandoned by their male counterparts in search of destiny.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A. C. Walter on Nov. 30 2004
Format: Hardcover
"Gilead" is Marilynne Robinson's second novel, written more than 20 years after "Housekeeping," which drew much critical acclaim as well as the 1981 PEN/Hemingway Award. "Gilead" takes the form of a long letter written in 1956 by a dying 76-year-old pastor to his 7-year-old son in the small town of Gilead, Iowa. The novel is very leisurely paced (think of Wendell Berry at his most leisurely) and meanders down the side roads of memory and reverie--telling a few tall tales, recounting the strange exploits of the narrator's firebrand abolitionist grandfather, and dwelling on the occasional theological issue (the narrator has wrestled much of his life with the humanist theology of Ludwig Feuerbach, a struggle made easier for the narrator by the works of Karl Barth). Being a slow-building, character-based novel, there is no plot to speak of in "Gilead." However, the story ultimately addresses the theme of the prodigal son and ends with a touching and nearly-unexpected poignancy. This is a thoughtful and deeply religious novel by a top literary talent: beautiful, if not a pinnacle work of the genre like Bo Giertz's "The Hammer of God."
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