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The Resource Gilead : [a Gab bag for book discussion groups], Marilynne Robinson, (kit)

Gilead : [a Gab bag for book discussion groups], Marilynne Robinson, (kit)

Label
Gilead : [a Gab bag for book discussion groups]
Title
Gilead
Title remainder
[a Gab bag for book discussion groups]
Statement of responsibility
Marilynne Robinson
Title variation
Gab bags
Creator
Contributor
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
As the Reverend John Ames approaches the hour of his own death, he writes a letter to his son chronicling three previous generations of his family, a story that stretches back to the Civil War and reveals uncomfortable family secrets
Member of
Storyline
Pace
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
  • ALA Notable Book, 2006.
  • Booklist Editors' Choice, 2004.
  • National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, 2004.
  • New York Times Notable Book, 2004
  • Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 2005.
Review
  • Robinson’s first book, Housekeeping (1981), remains an astonishment, leading to high expectations for her longed-for second novel, which is, joyfully, a work of profound beauty and wonder. Reverend John Ames of Gilead, Iowa, a grandson and son of preachers, now in his seventies, is afraid he hasn't much time left to tell his young son about his heritage. And so he takes up his pen, as he has for decades--he estimates that he’s written more than 2,000 sermons--and vividly describes his prophetlike grandfather, who had a vision that inspired him to go to Kansas and “make himself useful to the cause of abolition,” and the epic conflict between his fiery grandfather and his pacifist father. He recounts the death of his first wife and child, marvels over the variegated splendors of earth and sky, and offers moving interpretations of the Gospel. And then, as he struggles with his disapproval and fear of his namesake and shadow son, Jack, the reprobate offspring of his closest friend, his letter evolves into a full-blown apologia punctuated by the disturbing revelation of Jack’s wrenching predicament, one inexorably tied to the toxic legacy of slavery. “For me writing has always felt like praying,” discloses Robinson’s contemplative hero, and, indeed, John has nearly as much reverence for language and thought as he does for life itself. Millennia of philosophical musings and a century of American history are refracted through the prism of Robinson’s exquisite and uplifting novel as she illuminates the heart of a mystic, poet, and humanist. -- Donna Seaman (BookList, 08-01-2004, p1874)
  • /* Starred Review */ Fans of Robinson's acclaimed debut Housekeeping (1981) will find that the long wait has been worth it. From the first page of her second novel, the voice of Rev. John Ames mesmerizes with his account of his life—and that of his father and grandfather. Ames is 77 years old in 1956, in failing health, with a much younger wife and six-year-old son; as a preacher in the small Iowa town where he spent his entire life, he has produced volumes and volumes of sermons and prayers, "[t]rying to say what was true." But it is in this mesmerizing account—in the form of a letter to his young son, who he imagines reading it when he is grown—that his meditations on creation and existence are fully illumined. Ames details the often harsh conditions of perishing Midwestern prairie towns, the Spanish influenza and two world wars. He relates the death of his first wife and child, and his long years alone attempting to live up to the legacy of his fiery grandfather, a man who saw visions of Christ and became a controversial figure in the Kansas abolitionist movement, and his own father's embittered pacifism. During the course of Ames's writing, he is confronted with one of his most difficult and long-simmering crises of personal resentment when John Ames Boughton (his namesake and son of his best friend) returns to his hometown, trailing with him the actions of a callous past and precarious future. In attempting to find a way to comprehend and forgive, Ames finds that he must face a final comprehension of self—as well as the worth of his life's reflections. Robinson's prose is beautiful, shimmering and precise; the revelations are subtle but never muted when they come, and the careful telling carries the breath of suspense. There is no simple redemption here; despite the meditations on faith, even readers with no religious inclinations will be captivated. Many writers try to capture life's universals of strength, struggle, joy and forgiveness—but Robinson truly succeeds in what is destined to become her second classic. Agent, Ellen Levine. 5-city author tour. (Nov.) --Staff (Reviewed September 27, 2004) (Publishers Weekly, vol 251, issue 39, p36)
  • /* Starred Review */ The wait since 1981 and Housekeeping is over. Robinson returns with a second novel that, however quiet in tone and however delicate of step, will do no less than tell the story of America—and break your heart.A reverend in tiny Gilead, Iowa, John Ames is 74, and his life is at its best—and at its end. Half a century ago, Ames's first wife died in childbirth, followed by her new baby daughter, and Ames, seemingly destined to live alone, devoted himself to his town, church, and people—until the Pentecost Sunday when a young stranger named Lila walked into the church out of the rain and, from in back, listened to Ames's sermon, then returned each Sunday after. The two married—Ames was 67—had a son, and life began all over again. But not for long. In the novel's present (mid-1950s), Ames is suffering from the heart trouble that will soon bring his death. And so he embarks upon the writing of a long diary, or daily letter—the pages of Gilead—addressed to his seven-year-old son so he can read it when he's grown and know not only about his absent father but his own history, family, and heritage. And what a letter it is! Not only is John Ames the most kind, observant, sensitive, and companionable of men to spend time with, but his story reaches back to his patriarchal Civil War great-grandfather, fiery preacher and abolitionist; comes up to his grandfather, also a reverend and in the War; to his father; and to his own life, spent in his father's church. This long story of daily life in deep Middle America—addressed to an unknown and doubting future—is never in the slightest way parochial or small, but instead it evokes on the pulse the richest imaginable identifying truths of what America was.Robinson has composed, with its cascading perfections of symbols, a novel as big as a nation, as quiet as thought, and moving as prayer. Matchless and towering. (Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2004)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
129216
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Robinson, Marilynne
Dewey number
813/.54
Index
no index present
LC call number
PS3568.O3125
LC item number
G55 2004
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/relatedWorkOrContributorName
Williamsburg Regional Library
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Series statement
Gilead novels
Series volume
0001
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Conflict of generations
  • Reminiscing in old age
  • Children of clergy
  • Fathers and sons
  • Grandfathers
  • Clergy
  • Kansas
  • Book clubs (Discussion groups)
  • Group reading
Target audience
adult
Label
Gilead : [a Gab bag for book discussion groups], Marilynne Robinson, (kit)
Link
http://www.kitkeeper.com/show_kit_list.cfm?curOrg=wburg&curKID=39930
Instantiates
Publication
Note
  • Title from tag attached to tote bag
  • Assembled by the Adult Services staff of the Williamsburg Regional Library for use by book discussion groups
  • Copies published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (imprint may vary)
  • Each copy: 247 pages
Accompanying material
1 resource notebook.
Carrier category
object
Carrier category code
  • nr
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
three-dimensional form
Content type code
  • tdf
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Edition
Book discussion group edition.
Extent
12 regular print copies +
Isbn
9780374153892
Isbn Type
(hc. : alk. paper)
Lccn
2004047063
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Note
Imprint varies.
System control number
54881929
Label
Gilead : [a Gab bag for book discussion groups], Marilynne Robinson, (kit)
Link
http://www.kitkeeper.com/show_kit_list.cfm?curOrg=wburg&curKID=39930
Publication
Note
  • Title from tag attached to tote bag
  • Assembled by the Adult Services staff of the Williamsburg Regional Library for use by book discussion groups
  • Copies published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (imprint may vary)
  • Each copy: 247 pages
Accompanying material
1 resource notebook.
Carrier category
object
Carrier category code
  • nr
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
three-dimensional form
Content type code
  • tdf
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Edition
Book discussion group edition.
Extent
12 regular print copies +
Isbn
9780374153892
Isbn Type
(hc. : alk. paper)
Lccn
2004047063
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Note
Imprint varies.
System control number
54881929

Library Locations

  • James City County LibraryBorrow it
    7770 Croaker Road, Williamsburg, VA, 23188, US
    37.377573 -76.770995
  • WRL Mobile Library ServicesBorrow it
    7770 Croaker Road, Williamsburg, VA, 23188, US
    37.377573 -76.770995
  • Williamsburg LibraryBorrow it
    515 Scotland Street, Williamsburg, VA, 23185, US
    37.377573 -76.770995
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