by Marilynne Robinson
(Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25)
For any prodigal son, forgiveness is not the end of the story, said Tom Montgomery-Fate in The Boston Globe. In Marilynne Robinson’s Home, Jack Boughton, a 41-year-old ne’er-do-well, arrives in little Gilead, Iowa, as his minister father nears death. The same event was central to Gilead, Robinson’s Pulitzer Prize–winning 2005 novel. This time, though, the story is told mostly by Jack’s unmarried sister, Glory, rather than by the Rev. Boughton’s best friend. It’s Glory, not Jack, who achieves a full measure of reconciliation. Though each of these companion novels is rewarding in itself, said Todd Shy in the Raleigh, N.C., News & Observer, “it is a rich, jolting experience” to read them together. Whereas the pious elderly narrator of Gilead winningly celebrated “simple, persistent virtues,” Home “forces us to wonder” if his affirming worldview was a product of the same narrowness that prevents Jack’s lordly father from offering his son a homecoming worthy of the name. Together, each novel illuminates the other, said Benjamin Lytal in The New York Sun. Together, they mark “a bright spot in our literary history.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The Obama era is over. The presidency continues.
- What is Molly? Everything you need to know about the party drug
- America created the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? Meet the ISIS 'truthers'
- How American businessmen are ruining American business — and the U.S. economy
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Russia's giant spy ship was a high-tech disaster waiting to happen
- How Harry Houdini escaped death
- The constant struggle of running a family farm in 21st century America
- How to stop misogynists from terrorizing the world of gamers
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
Subscribe to the Week