Join BookBrowse today and get access to free books, our twice monthly digital magazine, and more.

Reviews of Home by Marilynne Robinson

Home

A Novel

by Marilynne Robinson

Home by Marilynne Robinson X
Home by Marilynne Robinson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2008, 336 pages

    Paperback:
    Sep 2009, 336 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Amy Reading
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Home parallels the story told in Robinson's Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead. It is a moving and healing book about families, family secrets, and the passing of the generations, about love and death and faith.

Hundreds of thousands were enthralled by the luminous voice of John Ames in 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.

Home is a moving and healing book about families, family secrets, and the passing of the generations, about love and death and faith. It is Robinson’s greatest work, an unforgettable embodiment of the deepest and most universal emotions.

Excerpt
Home

"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...

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!
About this Guide
The following author biography and list of questions about Home are intended as resources to aid individual readers and book groups who would like to learn more about the author and this book. We hope that this guide will provide you a starting place for discussion, and suggest a variety of perspectives from which you might approach Home.


About the Book
A novel that enthralled America and garnered the Pulitzer Prize, Gilead transported readers to a small Iowa town at the cultural crossroads of the 1950s. Returning once again to that singular time and place, Marilynne Robinson has crafted a wholly independent, deeply affecting novel taking place in the householdof the Reverend Robert Boughton, whose ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!
  • award image

    Women's Prize for Fiction
    2009

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Even in disgrace, Jack projects an irresistible charm, and I couldn't help but bleed for him as he repeatedly attempts to make peace with his dying father only to enflame old wounds. But to focus on Jack's tortured soul, as so many reviewers have done, is to duplicate an injury that Robinson condemns within the novel—that of overlooking and taking for granted the state of Glory's soul. It is she who comes to know Jack better than anyone in the family, and it is her emotional wisdom that saves him day after day. Because Robinson narrates the action from within Glory's perspective, it is perhaps most accurate to say that Home is the story not of a prodigal son but of a sister's loving, faltering attempt to bring the prodigal son back into the family...continued

Full Review (882 words)

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Amy Reading).

Media Reviews

Chicago Sun-Times - Mark Athitakis
If Home is a lesser novel than Gilead, it still calls up the surpassing gracefulness of Robinson's best writing, as well as its -- there's no better word -- spirit.

San Francisco Chronicle - Joan Frank
Home offers such intricate characterizations, so many passages of surpassing wisdom and beauty, one yearns to quote page after page. It rejoices in the humblest actions - giving a haircut, weeding, making meals, coffee - the holiness of the daily. As handily as it fits Frost's famous lines, Home also calls to mind those of the late, entirely unreligious E.B. White: "All that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world."

The Washington Post - Ron Charles
Even more than their stylistic beauty, what's miraculous about Gilead and Home is their explicit focus on spiritual affliction, discussed in the hard terms of Protestant theology.

New York Times - Michiko Kakutani
Instead of making all this feel inevitable, Ms. Robinson simply leaves the reader feeling that her characters are perversely choosing not to communicate, and as a result, her sad family drama feels less affecting than stage-managed, less tragic than unnecessary and contrived.

Kirkus Reviews
Comes astonishingly close to matching its amazing predecessor in beauty and power.

Library Journal
Fans of Gilead will be grateful for this expansion of the story - and for its closing hint of a possible return to the extended Ames/Boughton families, whose two small sons will carry their complicated heritage into the cultural revolutions of the 1960s.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Robinson's beautiful new nove...stakes a fierce claim to a divine recognition behind the rituals of home.

Reader Reviews

Marie from Maplewood

Most moving books I've read in years.
Both Home and her previous book were so memorable! To read the reactions of the characters from their perspectives to the same recounting of events in their lives was so skillfully accomplished! I became a witness to their lives. I need to know ...   Read More
Cloggie Downunder

a stirring read
“You must forgive in order to understand. Until you forgive, you defend yourself against the possibility of understanding” Home is the second book in the Gilead series by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Marilynne Robinson, and is set in Gilead, ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Predestination

One of the crucial scenes in Home, a scene so important that it repeats and vastly expands on a scene from Gilead, occurs when John Ames and his wife Lila visit the Boughtons for dinner, and Jack discomfits them all by pressing Reverend Ames for his views on the doctrine of predestination. "Do you think some people are intentionally and irretrievably consigned to perdition?" he asks. He continues, "I've wondered from time to time if I might not be an instance of predestination. A sort of proof. If I may not experience predestination in my own person. That would be interesting, if the consequences were not so painful."

Reverend Ames, a Congregationalist, and Reverend Boughton, a Presbyterian, are both Calvinists, like ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Read-Alikes

Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Home, try these:

  • Crooked Hallelujah jacket

    Crooked Hallelujah

    by Kelli Jo Ford

    Published 2021

    About this book

    It's 1974 in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and fifteen-year-old Justine grows up in a family of tough, complicated, and loyal women presided over by her mother, Lula, and Granny.

  • Jack jacket

    Jack

    by Marilynne Robinson

    Published 2021

    About this book

    More by this author

    Marilynne Robinson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Humanities Medal, returns to the world of Gilead with Jack, the latest novel in one of the great works of contemporary American fiction.

We have 19 read-alikes for Home, but non-members are limited to two results. To see the complete list of this book's read-alikes, you need to be a member.
More books by Marilynne Robinson
Search read-alikes
How we choose read-alikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Last Murder at the End of the World
    The Last Murder at the End of the World
    by Stuart Turton
    The island is the only safe place left on Earth. Since a deadly fog overtook the planet, the ...
  • Book Jacket
    A Kind of Madness
    by Uche Okonkwo
    The word "madness," like many others that can be used to stigmatize mental illness — e.g., "...
  • Book Jacket: Long After We Are Gone
    Long After We Are Gone
    by Terah Shelton Harris
    Terah Shelton Harris's marvelous family drama Long After We Are Gone begins with the death of the ...
  • Book Jacket: Exhibit
    Exhibit
    by R O. Kwon
    Exhibit, R.O. Kwon's sophomore novel (after The Incendiaries, 2018), introduces readers to Jin Han, ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
The Pecan Children
by Quinn Connor
Two sisters deeply tied to their small Southern town fight to break free of the darkness swallowing the land whole.
Book Jacket
Look on the Bright Side
by Kristan Higgins
From the author of Pack Up the Moon comes a funny, romantic, and moving novel about life's unexpected rewards.
Win This Book
Win Bright and Tender Dark

Bright and Tender Dark by Joanna Pearson

A beautifully written, wire-taut debut novel about a murder on a college campus and its aftermath twenty years later.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A W in S C

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.