Sunday, 5 April 2015
HOME by Marilynne Robinson
It tells the story of an alcoholic named Jack, who has been away from home for twenty years, and now returns exhausted to his father, a pastor, and his sister who has likewise returned home a mess.
The father and sthe ister do a lot of agonizing. One of the more annoying aspects of this book is that they don’t just go ahead and call Jack was he is, an alcoholic; they act like there is some sort of dark and secret reason for his behavior, some implicit sin, some mystery; and much of the book is spent trying to ferret this mystery out. Guess what, he has a drinking problem. It’s not very mysterious.
The other books were much interested in religion, and I found this actually kind of interesting, and fundamentally positive. It’s unusual in a modern book For example, in GILEAD, the elderly man talks about the joy he had as a child baptizing kittens, and the sense it gave him of the sacred nature of all life. In HOME Christianity seemed to be mostly about condemnation, and a childish view of how ‘bad’ someone could be. I found it silly.