A Novel

eBook - 2020
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A new classic from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gilead and Housekeeping . The long-awaited fourth and last of Marilynne Robinson's Gilead novels-one of the great works of contemporary literature. With Jack , Robinson takes her readers back to the small town of Gilead, Iowa, in 1956, to tell the story of John Ames Boughton, the godson of John Ames and the black sheep of his family. He's a ne-er do well and the beloved prodigal son who falls in love with and marries Della, a beautiful and brilliant African-American teacher he meets in segregated St. Louis. Their fraught, beautiful romance is one of Robinson's greatest achievements.
Publisher: 2020.
ISBN: 9780771006043
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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Oct 13, 2020

This is the 4th book in Robinson's Gilead series. You don't have to read the earlier novels to enjoy Jack, but I felt my reading was all the richer because I had. Jack describes himself as a bum, a thief, an alcoholic, a Prince of Darkness and granted, he has led a spotty life, but his center core is still well bred and well read. His resolve becomes to live a life of harmlessness, as he puts it. Then he meets and falls in love with Della. But their love is unlawful. The relationship between Jack and Della is completely charming, deep, and real. A great deal of the book centers on Jack's interior struggles as he weighs his love for Della against the harm that love will undoubtedly bring her. Lots of philosophical questions.

Sep 29, 2020

I so enjoyed Gilead, and I was looking forward to reading about Jack. He has been mentioned in previous books in the series. Unfortunately, this book fell flat for me. Jack always seemed so doomed. I thought that his bi-racial marriage might breathe some life into the story, but it didn’t. Della, defying her family should have had more spark, more personality. And I still haven’t figured out why Della was locked into a cemetery for white people at night, where Jack and she spent the night talking. I got bogged down in this cemetery visit and the rest of the book didn’t improve my love of Jack. I think this is a book that you need to have read the previous books.

Sep 22, 2020

Grace. That is what I see woven in and through this fourth Gilead novel. Jack Boughton continues to live the life of a thief, a drunk, and a ne'er-do-well. One day he holds an umbrella over a woman who is struggling to hand onto her papers. She invites him into tea and a bond is formed that even a determined father and bishop despairs of tearing asunder. This is St. Louis in the 1950's. Jack is white. Della is black. Yet both reach across that divide as kindred spirits and soulmates. As you can imagine there are harsh realities to be faced. The more I read of Marilynne Robinson the more I appreciate her ability to frame religious debates with such beauty and reverence in the midst of our toilsome existence. What feats we can perform when we have someone loves our very soul.

Nicr Jul 27, 2020

Jack Boughton and Della Miles--"he was disreputable and she was black"--after a long night of densely philosophical conversation waiting for dawn in a locked cemetery, eventually become a couple: "And this was his grandest larceny by far, this sly theft of happiness from the very clutches of prohibition." Deeply compassionate portrait of a complex man on the extreme margins, stumbling into grace.

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