Marilynne Robinson has done something so interesting. In Gilead, which I read a few months ago, she tells this same story from a different perspective. Either book can stand alone, and I think they should be considered separately, yet the way they’re tied together is so rich that I doubt I’ll be able to discuss this book without constantly referencing the other.
To start, I suspect I’ll return to Gilead more often. The existential musings of an old pastor provide a much more entertaining line-by-line read. Home had more scenes, more dialogue, and fewer attempts to make sense of everything that’s taking place.
Halfway through this book, someone who had read both books asked me what I thought, and I think I told them it was boring. It’s very slow-paced, because it follows the pace of family relationships, the ways they develop, the habits they form and reinforce, and the near-futility of redefining yourself within the context of your family – those people who have known you, and told your story, from the very beginning. Of course, now that we’re talking about Personal Narratives and Familial Roles, I’m realizing how rich and intriguing this story is.