In 1956, towards the end of Reverend John Ames’s life, he begins a letter to his young son: ‘I told you last night that I might be gone sometime . . . You reached up and put your fingers on my lips and gave me that look I never in my life saw on any other face besides your mother’s. It’s a kind of furious pride, very passionate and stern. I’m always a little surprised to find my eyebrows unsinged after I’ve suffered one of those looks. I will miss them.’
A fictional autobiography of the Reverend John Ames, an elderly, white pastor in the small, secluded town of Gilead in Iowa (also fictional), who knows that he is dying of a heart condition.
Marilynne Robinson has used characters and events from Gilead in three more novels – Home, Lila and Jack.
‘A visionary work of dazzling originality’ ROBERT MCCRUM, OBSERVER
‘Writing of this quality, with an authority as unforced as the perfect pitch in music, is rare and carries with it a sense almost of danger’ JANE SHILLING, DAILY TELEGRAPH
‘A beautiful novel: wise, tender and perfectly measured’ SARAH WATERS
‘A masterpiece’ SUNDAY TIMES