Gilead takes its name from a fictional Iowa town, the setting of several novels by Marilynne Robinson. In Gilead, Robinson writes in the voice of the aging Reverend John Ames, exploring the beauty, mystery, and pain of existence through a lyrical, meditative letter Ames writes to his young son. This is not a gripping, plot-driven novel, but rather work of wisdom to be savored – a literary novel that could also be at home on the theology shelf. As Ames attempts to distill the wisdom he has gleaned through a long life of meditating on the mysterious workings of God, especially as evidenced in his own family history, we catch glimpses what it means to live a life of worship. This book raises questions without answers, questions that call us to rest in the sure reality of God’s goodness rather than leaning on our own understanding. “Nothing true can be said about God from a posture of defense,” says Robinson. This book models an alternative posture from which we can speak the truth about God. This novel, like all of Robinson’s novels, stirred a longing in me for a life lived in deeper wisdom and awareness of God.
-Tim Kauffman, CLR Manager
247 pages, paperback.