I read Gilead a few years back and I was instantly captivated by the elegance of the narrative. There is a quiet strength in the beauty and simplicity of Marilynne Robinson’s prose. I cannot pinpoint exactly what it is that makes me want to weep each time I read her books. In Home, it was no different.
Glory Boughton is back in her childhood home in Gilead where her minister father of advanced years, Rev. Robert Boughton, has been staying in for years. What exactly brought Glory back to Gilead is gradually revealed in the story and a few weeks afterwards, her errant brother, Jack, surprisingly appeared in their doorstep after a very long absence.
Jack is shown to be the black sheep of the family — quiet, brooding, and always involved in all kinds of mischief. Despite his faults and shortcomings, however, he remains to be a well-loved son, especially by his father whose heart is torn apart by the lack of reform in his son. Jack’s siblings are also shown to have unwavering support for this sibling who is too difficult to understand, yet, for reasons Jack alone knows, he still feels alienated and set apart from his family. Probably, this was the alienation that made Jack leave home and made him stay away for many years. What brought him back again was never really clear in the story. And Glory had her own reasons for coming back, too.
Reading Home kindled all kinds of emotions from me, strongly of all was an inexplicable sadness. It was despairing to see how the family, especially the old patriarch, tried to mend relations broken by misunderstandings and distance. But it was also heartwarming to see Glory and Jack reconnect again as siblings. I loved their friendly banter and their daily routine. Inasmuch as I wanted to truly understand Jack, I couldn’t. I could only sympathize with his inner struggles and confusions, of why he is the way he is. I guess, Rev. Boughton was the same. With family, sometimes you do not question anymore. You simply loved.
Since I read this book last year, I have been chewing over what happened in the story. Plot-wise, the pacing is slow, but it is a sweet kind of slow. I savored each and every page, entranced with how each character is fleshed out and how the events slowly unfolded. The ending gave my heart a little pinch but it also left me rooting for Jack.
I am actually at a loss for words as I attempt to write about this beauty of a literature. Home is a literary masterpiece and I am simply awed with Marilynne Robinson’s poignant way with words. This is a favorite book, one that I would gladly recommend to anyone who loves a good and meaningful read.
“Weary or bitter or bewildered as we may be, God is faithful. He lets us wander so we will know what it means to come home.” (p. 102)
My Rating: 5/5 stars.
My copy: Hardback; from Booksale