This is one of the top twenty-five favorite books I've ever read, and Marilynne Robinson's "Gilead" is in the top ten. This writer has such a way of touching the heart without being sappy; of telling family stories that are familiar but new, understanding so well the currents of feeling under the daily actions of families. What family doesn't have a wayward brother, sister or parent, yet love them desperately? What family doesn't hope and wish and pray for that person far beyond what is logical and likely? No one can explore this like Marilynn Robinson without leaving you feeling hopeless. That love is the goal in and of itself, regardless of the outcome, may be the message of this beautiful little book.
Our all women book club read both Gilead and Home. Home is written in a female character voice and so from a female point of view. We enjoyed both of these books. However, we were more "charmed" by Robinson's ability to write with a male's voice in Gilead than in the more familiar female voice. Still both books are remarkable for Robinson's ability to pain vivid pictures of a time long-gone by. Recommended reading for anyone who remembers growing up in the era or who wants to learn more about what life really was like and what mattered to us in the earlier age. Very authenic writing.
This is about as good as it gets from the standpoint of the quality of the writing, the development of the characters, and a somewhat unique perspective on family relationships. It is often melancholy, you want the struggling family members to just work it out so things will be all better. But the interactions and dialogue between the characters are so real you almost feel you're sitting at the table with them. This is an exceptional book.