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2008 National Book Award Finalist,

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Photo © Nancy Crampton.
Marilynne Robinson
Farrar, Straus & Giroux


Home demonstrates that quiet prose can contain ecstasies and quiet souls dramas of raging moral intensity. A faithful daughter and a prodigal son return to their childhood home, where their clergyman father is dying, to reacquaint not only with one another but with the demands of forgiveness. Marilynne Robinson's fiction grapples with such issues as the nature of goodness and the limits of understanding, bringing to its explorations a spiritual precision and redemptive beauty.


Marilynne Robinson is the author of the novels Gilead (FSG, 2004)—winner of the Pulitzer Prize—and Housekeeping (FSG, 1980), and two books of nonfiction, Mother Country (FSG, 1989) and The Death of Adam. She teaches at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

ABOUT THE BOOK (from the publisher)

Gilead, Marilynne Robinson’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel. Home is an entirely independent, deeply affecting novel that takes place concurrently in the same locale, this time in the household of Reverend Robert Boughton, Ames’s closest friend.

Glory Boughton, aged thirty-eight, has returned to Gilead to care for her dying father. Soon her brother, Jack—the prodigal son of the family, gone for twenty years—comes home too, looking for refuge and trying to make peace with a past littered with tormenting trouble and pain.

Jack is one of the great characters in recent literature. A bad boy from childhood, an alcoholic who cannot hold a job, he is perpetually at odds with his surroundings and with his traditionalist father, though he remains Boughton’s most beloved child. Brilliant, lovable, and wayward, Jack forges an intense bond with Glory and engages painfully with Ames, his godfather and namesake.


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Marilynne Robinson speaks about Home on NPR's Weekend Edition


Excerpted from Home by Marilynne Robinson. Copyright © 2008 by Marilynne Robinson. Published in September 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.

“Home to stay, Glory! Yes!” her father said, and her heart sank. He attempted a twinkle of joy at this thought, but his eyes were damp with commiseration. “To stay for a while this time!” he amended, and took her bag from her, first shifting his cane to his weaker hand. Dear God, she thought, dear God in
heaven. So began and ended all her prayers these days, which
were really cries of amazement. How could her father be so frail?
And how could he be so recklessly intent on satisfying his notions
of gentlemanliness, hanging his cane on the railing of the stairs so
he could, dear God, carry her bag up to her room? But he did it,
and then he stood by the door, collecting himself.

“This is the nicest room. According to Mrs. Blank.” He indicated
the windows. “Cross ventilation. I don’t know. They all
seem nice to me.” He laughed. “Well, it’s a good house.” The
house embodied for him the general blessedness of his life, which
was manifest, really indisputable. And which he never failed to
acknowledge, especially when it stood over against particular sorrow.
Even more frequently after their mother died he spoke of
the house as if it were an old wife, beautiful for every comfort it
had offered, every grace, through all the long years. It was a
beauty that would not be apparent to every eye. It was too tall for
the neighborhood, with a flat face and a flattened roof and peaked
brows over the windows. “Italianate,” her father said, but that
was a guess, or a rationalization. In any case, it managed to look
both austere and pretentious despite the porch her father had had
built on the front of it to accommodate the local taste for socializing
in the hot summer evenings, and which had become overgrown
by an immense bramble of trumpet vines. It was a good
house, her father said, meaning that it had a gracious heart however
awkward its appearance. And now the gardens and the
shrubbery were disheveled, as he must have known, though he
rarely ventured beyond the porch.

Excerpted from Home by Marilynne Robinson. Copyright © 2008 by Marilynne Robinson. Published in September 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.


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