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About Marilynne Robinson
Marilynne Robinson is the author of the bestselling novels "Lila," "Home" (winner of the Orange Prize), "Gilead" (winner of the Pulitzer Prize), and "Housekeeping" (winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award).
She has also written four books of nonfiction, "When I Was a Child I Read Books," "Absence of Mind," "Mother Country" and "The Death of Adam." She teaches at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop.
She has been given honorary degrees from Brown University, the University of the South, Holy Cross, Notre Dame, Amherst, Skidmore, and Oxford University. She was also elected a fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford University.
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A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • A NEW YORK TIMESE NOTABLE BOOK • WINNER OF THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE
A WASHINGTON POST BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR • A LOS ANGELES TIMES BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR • A SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
“[Robinson's] prose is our flight out, a keen instrument of vision and transcendence.” —O, the Oprah Magazine
Hailed as "incandescent," "magnificent," and "a literary miracle" (Entertainment Weekly), hundreds of thousands of readers were enthralled by Marilynne Robinson's Gilead. Now Robinson returns with a brilliantly imagined retelling of the prodigal son parable, set at the same moment and in the same Iowa town as Gilead.
A luminous and healing book about families, family secrets, and faith from one of America's most beloved and acclaimed authors.
The Reverend Boughton's hell-raising son, Jack, has come home after twenty years away. Artful and devious in his youth, now an alcoholic carrying two decades worth of secrets, he is perpetually at odds with his traditionalist father, though he remains his most beloved child. As Jack tries to make peace with his father, he begins to forge an intense bond with his sister Glory, herself returning home with a broken heart and turbulent past.
Home is a luminous and healing book about families, family secrets, and faith from one of America's most beloved and acclaimed authors.
A New York Times bestseller
Named a Best Book of 2020 by the Australian Book Review, AV Club, Books-a-Million, Electric Literature, Esquire, the Financial Times, Good Housekeeping (UK), The Guardian, Kirkus Reviews, Literary Hub, the New Statesman, the New York Public Library, NPR, the Star Tribune, and TIME
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
Marilynne Robinson’s mythical world of Gilead, Iowa—the setting of her novels Gilead, Home, and Lila, and now Jack—and its beloved characters have illuminated and interrogated the complexities of American history, the power of our emotions, and the wonders of a sacred world. Jack is Robinson’s fourth novel in this now-classic series. In it, Robinson tells the story of John Ames Boughton, the prodigal son of Gilead’s Presbyterian minister, and his romance with Della Miles, a high school teacher who is also the child of a preacher. Their deeply felt, tormented, star-crossed interracial romance resonates with all the paradoxes of American life, then and now.
Robinson’s Gilead novels, which have won one Pulitzer Prize and two National Book Critics Circle Awards, are a vital contribution to contemporary American literature and a revelation of our national character and humanity.
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER• OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK • WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION • NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER• A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK • MORE THAN 1 MILLION COPIES SOLD
“Quietly powerful [and] moving.” O, The Oprah Magazine (recommended reading)
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award, GILEAD is a hymn of praise and lamentation to the God-haunted existence that Reverend Ames loves passionately, and from which he will soon part.
In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. Ames is the son of an Iowan preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine, saw a vision of Christ bound in chains and came west to Kansas to fight for abolition: He "preached men into the Civil War," then, at age fifty, became a chaplain in the Union Army, losing his right eye in battle.
Reverend Ames writes to his son about the tension between his father--an ardent pacifist--and his grandfather, whose pistol and bloody shirts, concealed in an army blanket, may be relics from the fight between the abolitionists and those settlers who wanted to vote Kansas into the union as a slave state. And he tells a story of the sacred bonds between fathers and sons, which are tested in his tender and strained relationship with his namesake, John Ames Boughton, his best friend's wayward son.
This is also the tale of another remarkable vision--not a corporeal vision of God but the vision of life as a wondrously strange creation. It tells how wisdom was forged in Ames's soul during his solitary life, and how history lives through generations, pervasively present even when betrayed and forgotten.
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
National Book Award Finalist
A new American classic from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gilead and Housekeeping
Marilynne Robinson, one of the greatest novelists of our time, returns to the town of Gilead in an unforgettable story of a girlhood lived on the fringes of society in fear, awe, and wonder.
Lila, homeless and alone after years of roaming the countryside, steps inside a small-town Iowa church-the only available shelter from the rain-and ignites a romance and a debate that will reshape her life. She becomes the wife of a minister, John Ames, and begins a new existence while trying to make sense of the life that preceded her newfound security.
Neglected as a toddler, Lila was rescued by Doll, a canny young drifter, and brought up by her in a hardscrabble childhood. Together they crafted a life on the run, living hand to mouth with nothing but their sisterly bond and a ragged blade to protect them. Despite bouts of petty violence and moments of desperation, their shared life was laced with moments of joy and love. When Lila arrives in Gilead, she struggles to reconcile the life of her makeshift family and their days of hardship with the gentle Christian worldview of her husband which paradoxically judges those she loves.
Revisiting the beloved characters and setting of Robinson's Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead and Home, a National Book Award finalist, Lila is a moving expression of the mysteries of existence that is destined to become an American classic.
Winner of the Pen/Hemingway Award
A modern classic, Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, the eccentric and remote sister of their dead mother.
The family house is in the small town of Fingerbone on a glacial lake in the Far West, the same lake where their grandfather died in a spectacular train wreck and their mother drove off a cliff to her death. It is a town "chastened by an outsized landscape and extravagant weather, and chastened again by an awareness that the whole of human history had occurred elsewhere."
Ruth and Lucille's struggle toward adulthood beautifully illuminates the price of loss and survival, and the dangerous and deep undertow of transcience.
Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead series—Gilead, Home, Lila, and Jack—is an intergenerational story about faith, race, and love radiating out from the interwoven histories of two families in a small Iowa town to encompass all of American life: our ideals and beliefs, our contradictions, failings, and hopes.
Over the past sixteen years, Marilynne Robinson’s now-mythical world of Gilead, Iowa, and the beloved characters who inhabit it, have illuminated and interrogated the complexities of American history, the power of our emotions, and the wonders of a sacred world.
These four novels, which have won one Pulitzer Prize and two National Book Critics Circle Awards, among many other honors, are a vital contribution to contemporary American literature and a revelation of our national character and humanity. Robinson’s meditation on the paradoxes of American life has given us “something we only occasionally find in the vastness of existence: a glimpse of eternity” (Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal).
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
A New York Times Bestseller
A New York Magazine Best Book of the Year
An Economist Best Book of the Year
Pulitzer Prize–Winning Author of Gilead
Marilynne Robinson has built a sterling reputation as a writer of sharp, subtly moving prose, not only as a major American novelist, but also as a rigorous thinker and incisive essayist.
In When I Was a Child I Read Books she returns to and expands upon the themes which have preoccupied her work with renewed vigor.
In "Austerity as Ideology," she tackles the global debt crisis, and the charged political and social political climate in this country that makes finding a solution to our financial troubles so challenging. In "Open Thy Hand Wide" she searches out the deeply embedded role of generosity in Christian faith. And in "When I Was a Child," one of her most personal essays to date, an account of her childhood in Idaho becomes an exploration of individualism and the myth of the American West. Clear-eyed and forceful as ever, Robinson demonstrates once again why she is regarded as one of our essential writers.
By defending the importance of individual reflection, Robinson celebrates the power and variety of human consciousness in the tradition of William James. She explores the nature of subjectivity and considers the culture in which Sigmund Freud was situated and its influence on his model of self and civilization. Through keen interpretations of language, emotion, science, and poetry, Absence of Mind restores human consciousness to its central place in the religion-science debate.
New essays on theological, political, and contemporary themes, by the Pulitzer Prize winner
Marilynne Robinson has plumbed the human spirit in her renowned novels, including Lila, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Gilead, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. In this new essay collection she trains her incisive mind on our modern political climate and the mysteries of faith. Whether she is investigating how the work of great thinkers about America like Emerson and Tocqueville inform our political consciousness or discussing the way that beauty informs and disciplines daily life, Robinson’s peerless prose and boundless humanity are on full display. What Are We Doing Here? is a call for Americans to continue the tradition of those great thinkers and to remake American political and cultural life as “deeply impressed by obligation [and as] a great theater of heroic generosity, which, despite all, is sometimes palpable still.”
The spirit of our times can appear to be one of joyless urgency. As a culture we have become less interested in the exploration of the glorious mind, and more interested in creating and mastering technologies that will yield material well-being. But while cultural pessimism is always fashionable, there is still much to give us hope. In The Givenness of Things, the incomparable Marilynne Robinson delivers an impassioned critique of our contemporary society while arguing that reverence must be given to who we are and what we are: creatures of singular interest and value, despite our errors and depredations.
Robinson has plumbed the depths of the human spirit in her novels, including the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning Lila and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead, and in her new essay collection she trains her incisive mind on our modern predicament and the mysteries of faith. These seventeen essays examine the ideas that have inspired and provoked one of our finest writers throughout her life. Whether she is investigating how the work of the great thinkers of the past, Calvin, Locke, Bonhoeffer--and Shakespeare--can infuse our lives, or calling attention to the rise of the self-declared elite in American religious and political life, Robinson's peerless prose and boundless humanity are on display. Exquisite and bold, The Givenness of Things is a necessary call for us to find wisdom and guidance in our cultural heritage, and to offer grace to one another.
In this award-winning collection, the bestselling author of Gilead offers us other ways of thinking about history, religion, and society. Whether rescuing "Calvinism" and its creator Jean Cauvin from the repressive "puritan" stereotype, or considering how the McGuffey readers were inspired by Midwestern abolitionists, or the divide between the Bible and Darwinism, Marilynne Robinson repeatedly sends her reader back to the primary texts that are central to the development of American culture but little read or acknowledged today.
A passionate and provocative celebration of ideas, the old arts of civilization, and life's mystery, The Death of Adam is, in the words of Robert D. Richardson, Jr., "a grand, sweeping, blazing, brilliant, life-changing book."
Gli racconterà del nonno abolizionista e del padre pacifista, delle rovine di un luogo già baluardo della libertà americana, delle sue convinzioni e dei suoi dubbi, di quanto abbia amato questa vita che si appresta a lasciare. In un discorso lucido e luminoso da padre a figlio, da padre a Padre, dove l'intelligenza e la speranza parlano la stessa lingua.
«Un trionfo di stile e immaginazione, un viaggio spirituale che nessun lettore degno di questo nome può perdersi».
The Washington Post
«La cultura americana è più ricca grazie al corpus delle opere di Marilynne Robinson. Teniamo a mente l'insegnamento di John Ames: che alla grazia si deve rispondere con la gratitudine».
The Boston Globe
John Ames ama con la forza e lo stupore dei bambini, e forse dei santi. C'è un trasporto limpido e grato nel suo amore per la moglie e per il loro figlioletto; una meraviglia sempre sorridente eppure consapevole nella sua adesione alla vita e a tutto il mondo che la ospita, dall'ultimo filo d'erba al più sottile costrutto del pensiero.
John Ames un bambino non è - ha 76 anni ed è il pastore congregazionalista di Gilead, cittadina di poche anime nel cuore dell'Iowa - ma un santo forse si appresta a diventarlo, ora che una malattia cardiaca lo sta spegnendo. Ecco dunque la decisione, in quella primavera del 1956, di lasciare testimonianza di sé al figlio che non vedrà crescere.
A partire dalle sue ascendenze: la storia degli altri due reverendi John Ames, nonno e padre, che prima di lui hanno assolto quella funzione. Un abolizionista radicale, il primo, guerrigliero accanto a John Brown e volontario nell'esercito unionista, che, folgorato da una visione in giovane età, comunica con Dio da pari a pari e sceglie di esserne il braccio armato in nome di un'inflessibile giustizia. Pacifista convinto, il secondo, che del proprio mandato privilegia l'osservanza, e vive una vita di reazione implosiva all'esplosiva azione paterna.
Il terzo John Ames, lo scrivente, racconta delle loro eredità, dei saperi e delle esperienze che gli hanno permesso di coniugarle, della sua esistenza di studio e servizio in un luogo, Gilead, che dispensa con parsimonia il suo biblico balsamo, della lunga separazione dalla vita vissuta fino alla tarda folgorazione dell'innamoramento e alla rinascita in una piena e matura felicità.
Sembra aver vinto ogni battaglia, John Ames: quella con i suoi morti e i suoi demoni, quella con la perdita e l'abbandono, quella con l'ingiustizia e lo scontento, quella con l'inadeguatezza e la miscredenza. L'arrivo in città di Jack Boughton, figlio del suo amico fraterno, giovane inquieto e un po' sinistro dal passato oscuro e dalle dubbie intenzioni, gli offre l'occasione di chiudere i conti anche con la gelosia e il sospetto, sciogliendoli in perdono e tolleranza.
Resta una sola prova da superare: la serena accoglienza della propria mortalità, il distacco da una vita terrena più che amata, da una famiglia che non può più proteggere. Come nella storia di Agar e Ismaele, è tempo di mandare il proprio figlio nel deserto, la dimora degli sciacalli.