Saturday, February 19, 2011


Home by Marilynne Robinson

A long time ago someone asked me the question, where do you feel at home?  I thought really hard about this question because I didn't feel at home anywhere or maybe I felt at home everywhere I went.  Home does represent house to me but it represents so much more than just a physical structure.  Home is not a home without the people and things that belong in the house.   Feeling safe and having pleasant memories also play an important part in feeling at home.  My answer to the question, where do you feel at home? was this;  My home is in my heart and body, home is being myself and I always feel at home wherever I am if I am where I'm supposed to be.

Jack Boughton does not feel at home anywhere, nor is he comfortable in his body.  He is restless and has come home after being gone for over 20 years.  Jack is his father's prodigal son, a recovering alcoholic seeking solace and the feeling of home.  When he arrived home Jack found his Reverend father, ill and dying and his youngest sister moved in to care for him.  Jack and his sister forge a careful friendship and begin to rebuild and recreate their moments of Home.

Everyone in the book is searching for personal meaning and redemption.  Jack is searching for forgiveness and understanding, the Reverend is searching for peace and the love of his long lost son, and Glory is searching for solace and solidity.  An underlying it all are deep religious themes and the meaning of home.

Robinson won the Pulitzer Prize for her book Gilead.  Home is the continuation of the story Gilead.  I felt that Home was the more compelling book even though Gilead took the prize.  Both books were slow reads for me as the story line meanders along toward the end. There are no chapters in either book which bothered me sometimes as I like clean breaks in text.  The language style of the book is precise and every word intentional and poetic.  I would describe this book as a slow walk through the park on a sunny day without urgency.  You have time to smell the flowers and think about your destiny or maybe you just want to sit on the park bench, take a nap and dream about home.

Where do you feel at home?

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