GileadRead about the other books Akhtar tagged at NPR.
by Marilynne Robinson
Marilyn Robinson's Gilead won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2005. Not since Jonathan Edwards and Herman Melville has American prose been so deeply infused with an understanding of faith's capacity to illuminate daily life with shimmering wonder. Narrated by the Rev. John Ames of Gilead, Iowa, the book is structured as Ames' written address to his young son. Already in his 70s, Ames is afraid he doesn't have much time left to convey his heritage and his wisdom. What results is a quietly resplendent chronicle of Ames' personal and spiritual development, keen to the majesties of the earth and sky, and also of the human heart. His interpretations of the Gospels alone are filled with tenderness and wisdom — e.g. that poverty is the greatest of blessings, but perhaps not one that we are all strong enough to bear — that linger in the mind long after the last page is turned. It is rare to read so loving a book, and even rarer to read one that emboldens the reader to live more fully.
Gilead is on Michael Crummey's top ten list of literary feuds and Geraldine Brooks's five most important books list; it is a book Dalia Sofer would like to share with her children.
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