By Marilynne Robinson
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. 325 pgs. Fiction
Thirty-eight-year-old Glory is home in the small town of Gilead, caring for her dying father. When Jack, the family’s prodigal son, also returns home, he and Glory develop a cautious friendship colored by Jack’s troubled past and the years he’s spent in prison and as a vagrant, never comfortable with his own family. Although Jack seems to be doing well, returned letters from a woman he loves sends him on a bender, and Glory is forced to deal with the consequences.
Marilynne Robinson writes exceptional prose. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Home’s companion novel Gilead and both are beautiful. However, they are both also very slow-moving novels. The relationships, motives, and characters of Jack, Glory, and their father are carefully examined, giving readers plenty to discuss about family and the concept of home, but little occurs in the story outside of conversation and contemplation.