söndag 17 juli 2016

Book review: Gilead

Title: Gilead
Author: Marilynne Robinson
Genre: Fiction, Life
Year published: 2004
Pages: ~282
A place to buy it: If you are in Sweden you can buy if from Bokus, and if that is not the case you can buy it of Amazon.
Other: Winner of Pulitzer Prize (2004) and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.
Previous book review: Reality: A Very Short Introduction

A lovely letter

The book is a long letter that Reverend John Ames write in 1956 to his young son. John Ames really go through a remarkable character development throughout the book. The tone and events described in the letter also changes towards the end. He starts out like an old man, a father, looking back on his life and writing down the stories he probably never will be able to tell his son. The reason for that, and the motive behind the letter, is that John Ames has a hart condition and he married a younger woman late in his life, so his son is only seven years old.

In his letter John Ames tell stories from his own life but also the life of his father and grandfather. It is also the story of the town of Gilead - located in Iowa - and the changes and times it has gone through. John Ames also writes down quite a lot of thoughts on passages from the Bible and he ponders the mysteries of life and death and time itself.

A truly amazing book

When I read the plot for the book, I thought it would be a slow and boring book. I was both right and wrong, because the book is very calm but there is a fair share of mysteries that John Ames sometimes starts to talk about but then interrupt himself and so the mysteries are revealed slowly. It is also a well written book in the sense of the language, the words seems like they are always picked carefully and I appreciate that.

I never found the book boring, because even during the less interesting parts of the story itself - when Mr Ames ponders the meaning of parts of Scripture for example - the language itself makes up for it and therefore carry the reader along.

Reading Gilead made me think that a lot of work and thought was put into the book, because it is very neatly done. As I said, the words seemed like they were all picked with care and I really feel like a lot of thought was behind the book as a whole. Not to mention, it truly is a different kind of book and that is why I did not really know how to give it a certain genre.

I would recommend this book to everyone who wants to read something outstanding and don't mind a book with a calm pace. The book deserves every award it has won, and more. It is some years old, but I feel like this book can never truly grow old.