In Home, Marilynne Robinson takes us back to the characters of Gilead, viewed from a different angle. While Gilead was told from the perspective of Rev. John Ames, a Congregationalist Pastor, Home is told by Glory Boughton, Rev. William Boughton’s youngest daughter.
I’ve read this back in June, but somehow my thoughts kept coming back to it every time I start a new book. It seems ridiculous, I know, since I’ve been convincing myself that I cannot, hard as I try, review every book I read. Yet, somehow those thoughts persists. I love Home, because it was painfully beautiful, and I find that words fail me to adequately describe it. So I ask myself, “How do I come back to something so painful?”
Jack Boughton, despite his self-loathing, is far braver. He dragged himself back home, where both memories of pain and joy have an unsettling consequence on him. He came back to a dying father, who for two decades had been grieving for his son’s return; and to a sister brokenhearted by her own failed attempt at life. Being the black sheep of the family, Jack is totally convinced that he can never redeem himself in the eyes of any one he's known-at home or in town. He is constantly troubled by his past mistakes and his low appraisal of himself. And being so, he is no help to both his father and sister.
There's so much to be grateful for, words are poor things.
Redemption is always a troubling theme. Yet, Robinson took it and laid it out flat for us to examine closely. Using the rustic familial relationship, mixed with old religion, and a good helping of guilt made it utterly acute. She is a master of human observation. She put into words human emotions and instinct that is difficult to convey. Her accurate description of how the Boughtons tiptoed around each other, their guarded exercise of grace, and careful mincing of words clearly describes familial love on trying grounds.
HOME is slow and deliberate. There’s not much action, really, except for the dish washing and gardening. There is no earth-shattering events, no monumental dramas, but I held on to every moment, maybe because every moment is filled with emotions, plain and eloquent.