College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Liberal Arts Matters

Because Ideas Matter...

The faculty and staff of Butler University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences presents

Recommended Readings

Home Home

by Marilyn Robinson, Picador, 2010

Reviewed by Judi Morrel

Winner of a 2004 Pulitzer Prize for her novel Gilead, Marilyn Robinson has written a companion novel, Home, which is set in the same small Iowa town and populated with some of the same characters. This time the action takes place in the home of Reverend Robert Broughton, a retired Presbyterian pastor and the longtime friend of the Reverend John Ames, the narrator of Gilead. More character study than plot, the story opens when Glory, Broughton's 38-year-old daughter, returns to Gilead to care for her dying father. The two of them have just worked out a peaceful living arrangement when Glory's "bad boy" brother Jack returns to the home after an absence of 20 years. Both Glory and Jack are seeking refuge and redemption from troubled pasts: Glory from a doomed relationship with a married man and Jack from a past of waywardness, alcoholism and incarceration. Jack, always his father's favorite child, and Glory, only a child when Jack left Gilead under less than ideal circumstances, form a powerful bond in the healing cocoon of home, each finding in one another and in their father an opportunity to mend hearts and ways. When Jack reverts to his old habits, Glory is left to deal with the effects both on her relationship with Jack and on their father's health. Ultimately a story about the power of family, faith, love, family secrets, and the passing of generations, Home may be Robinson's best work yet.

- Judi Morrel is associate professor of mathematics at Butler University.