Marilynne Robinson - Home (2 stars)

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Marilynne Robinson - Home

(Virago)

FAMILY DRAMA

With its groaningly slow pace and scriptural debate-heavy prose, labouring through Marilynne Robinson’s thick-set third novel – a companion piece of sorts to 2005’s Pulitzer Prize winning Gilead – is an experience recommended only to the most sleep-deprived of readers. A reworking of the parable of the prodigal son, Home revisits the same rural Iowa town in which Robinson’s last book was set, focusing on the household of Gilead character John Ames’ friend, Presbyterian Minister Robert Boughton.

Boughton’s troubled, alcoholic son Jack returns from 20 years of estrangement to make peace with his dad on his deathbed, only to rediscover his alienation from the family home and its values, before falling into bad habits again. Robinson only rarely reveals what really makes her characters tick, while her telling the story largely through the eyes of glum, pious daughter Glory has the effect of narrating with a soporific voice from start to finish.

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