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Gilead

Author: Marilynne Robinson
Published By: Virago
Pages: 288
Price: £7.99
ISBN: 978 1 84408 148 6

Reviewed by Author unknown.

If you enjoyed the recent BBC comedy, Rev, you will enjoy, and be immensely enriched by reading Marilynne Robinson’s humane and insightful Pulitzer Prize winning novel.

Written as a letter from the Revd John Ames to the son of his later years, this is a work of pastoral theology, and an exercise in hermeneutics which is totally accessible to those of conscious faith and none. Insight after insight which betray an empathy and understanding of the life of a pastor are coupled with a depth of humanity that leads the reader into a deeper exploration of what it means to be human.

The final section, which sheds light on the life of John Ames Boughton, the son of his close neighbour and friend, named for him at baptism, led me straight into the heart of the story of the Prodigal Son. Here, however, it is played out not so much between as within us as people.

A work of narrative theology; a work of pastoral and spiritual discernment, fruit for group discussion or sermon enrichment, soul warming and a cracking good read, too. All in less than 300 pages. Highly recommended!

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You are reading Issue 50 of Ministry Today, published in November 2010.

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