The 150-word Review: Faith has always been a vague concept that I’ve had difficulty embracing. It has been the source of miracles and atrocities alike, thus too powerful a notion to dismiss (or embrace) glibly. Marilynne Robinson’s 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “Gilead,” is a rare work of fiction that explores the complexities of faith with brave sincerity.
Approaching the end of his days, Congregationalist minister John Ames, writes a letter to his young son, as a testament to his long life and his family’s generations-long connection to a small Kansas town, Gilead. His memoir gradually becomes a measured contemplation of the legacy left by one’s father and an accounting of his vocation. When the troubled son of his friend returns to Gilead, Ames must acknowledge the misgivings in his own heart and deeply question his faith. Through Ames’ final reflections, Robinson delivers the most deeply considered example of Grace I have ever read.
Having this book on your shelf would impress: aficionados of abolitionist history, theologians, fans of Robinson’s first novel “Housekeeping,” Midwesterners, literary critics, Ludwig Andreas von Feuerbach, and Christian pacifists.
This book will go great with: Tallgrass Ale, (Tallgrass Brewery – Manhattan, Kansas)
Set the mood with: Father and Son by Cat Stevens
Clavinism (stuff that will not make you look cool in a bar): Actually Norm, Gilead in the Scriptures means “hill of testimony or mound of witness.”