Gilead by Marilynne Robinson is set in 1956 when, towards the end of his life, Reverend John Ames is writing to his young son in the fictional town of Gilead, Iowa, while at the same time observing and reflecting on the lives being lived by those he is close to. In the process he looks back on his family history, his life experiences, his meditations on life’s big questions, all the things he wants to pass on to his son to know when he is older as Reverend Ames knows that he will not see his son reach adulthood.
The novel is full of advice and religion, but this should not deter readers who are not themselves religious. One commentator said that it ‘transcends its religiosity to bring us something deeply universal’. Many readers loved it, describing it as profound, moving and calming, as a book of great wisdom and tenderness, written with serene clarity, all of which I agree with. I am looking forward to reading Home, Lila and Jack which continue the story of Gilead and which are all in the library.
Reviewed by Ruth Mogg, Casino Library member.