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Extended Audio Sample Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (26,175 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Marilynne Robinson Narrator: Tim Jerome Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Gilead Series Release Date: January 2005 ISBN: 9781482975833
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In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames’s life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. Ames is the son of an Iowa preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine, saw a vision and came west to Kansas to fight for abolition. Reverend Ames tells a story of the sacred bonds between fathers and sons, which are tested in his tender and strained relationship with his best friend’s wayward son. Gilead is the long-hoped-for second novel by one of our finest writers, a hymn of praise and lamentation to the God-haunted existence that Reverend Ames loves passionately, and from which he will soon part. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The wait since 1981 and Housekeeping is over. Robinson returns with a second novel that, however quiet in tone and however delicate of step, will do no less than tell the story of America—and break your heart…Robinson has composed, with its cascading perfections of symbols, a novel as big as a nation, as quiet as thought, and moving as prayer. Matchless and towering.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Quietly powerful [and] moving.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “An inspired work from a writer whose sensibility seems steeped in holy fire.”

    Elle

  • “The mature and thoughtful work of a superb and thoughtful storyteller.”

    St. Petersburg Times

  • “Robinson’s long-awaited second novel is an almost otherwordly book—and reveals Robinson as a somewhat otherwordly figure herself…A work of enormous integrity…Original and strong…A beautiful book of ideas.”

    Atlantic Monthly

  • “Magnificent…A psalm worthy of study, a sermon of the loveliest profundity…[A] literary miracle.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “There is a lot of pleasure to be had in the novel’s probing, thoughtful narrative voice.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Compelling…Brilliant.”

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

  • “A beautifully rendered story…full of penetrating intellect and artful prose…that captures the splendors and pitfalls of being alive…The world could use…more novels this wise and radiant.”

    Charlotte Observer

  • “Robinson’s 1981 debut, Housekeeping, was a perfect novel if ever there was one, and her long-awaited second novel proves just as captivating…Robinson’s prose is lovely and wonderfully precise…Gilead is a gentle journey that will be even better the second time you read it.”

    People

  • “The long wait has been worth it…Robinson’s prose is beautiful, shimmering, and precise…Destined to become her second classic.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “[Gilead] is so serenely beautiful, and written in a prose so gravely measured and thoughtful, that one feels touched with grace just to read it. Gilead possesses the quiet ineluctable perfection of Flaubert’s A Simple Heart as well as the moral and emotional complexity of Robert Frost’s deepest poetry…Immensely moving.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • Gilead is a beautiful work—demanding, grave, and lucid…Robinson’s words have a spiritual force that’s very rare in contemporary fiction.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • A 2005 PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist
  • Winner of the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction
  • Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
  • Winner of the 2005 Ambassador Book Award for Fiction
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction, 2004
  • A 2005 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Fiction
  • A 2004 New York Times Book Review Top 10 Book of the Year
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A 2004 Time Magazine Top 10 Book

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jill Cowan | 2/20/2014

    " One of the most beautifully written, real books I've ever read. So rich in language and honesty ... one that I'll read again. Close to perfection. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike Shoop | 2/19/2014

    " I found it to be a very thought-provoking book and not a book to be read quickly. Robinson's writing encourages the reader to think deeply and see her characters in different ways. Lovely writing, good description, strong characters, and I liked reading something set in a different locale from what I usually read. Definitely worthwhile. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tan Ayla | 2/16/2014

    " "I do try to write the way I think" (29). Gilead, though written simply, is truly an elegant and graceful piece of work. Language in the novel, is shown as important since our understanding of ourselves necessitates the use of it. The novel raises issues with regards to existence, revealing the human condition, prodding readers to contemplate on their own being. It examines spirituality by deliberating over aspects of Christianity, avoiding any form of moralistic judgement. "Judge not" is a phrase that occurs frequently in the text. It is a novel that will definitely set you thinking about your life and your world, what it means to you and how others matter in relation to you. A thought-provoking read for anyone in need of some introspection. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer Duffy | 2/12/2014

    " It is real life, real family, real reading. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sandy | 1/31/2014

    " This book could be prescribed instead of sleeping pills. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa Ahn | 1/28/2014

    " I read this right after I finished Housekeeping, which I enjoyed more. Gilead's main character, John Ames, was less compelling for me, but I did enjoy the flow of his thoughts, the process of his gradual revelations. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ryan Miller | 1/23/2014

    " Everyone read this book please... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Saskia | 1/18/2014

    " Beautiful. Slow-moving, ponderous, heartbreaking. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 12/21/2013

    " Really superb in many ways. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Patrice | 12/1/2013

    " well written but just didn't keep my interest. Gave up 1/2 way through.... I don't do that often. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Shari | 11/27/2013

    " I gave up...just didn't hold my interest "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alicia | 11/25/2013

    " This is a thoughtful, meditative book. It's a reflection on dying, spirituality, and parenthood. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chelsea | 11/15/2013

    " The writing is gorgeous and profound. This book will leave you thinking "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nate | 11/12/2013

    " Devastatingly good read off the Pulitzer list. One of my favorites. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michelle | 11/9/2013

    " This is one of my favorite books of all times. Beautifully crafted characters. Amazing use of the English language. Haunting scenes of love and redemption. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 8/26/2013

    " It was definitely a book to savor! There is much "food for thought" in this novel. I WILL reread this, too, and recommend it to my book club. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Evelyn | 4/4/2013

    " FICTIONAL MEMOIRS OF A CONGREGATIONALIST PASTOR PASSING DOWN WISDOM TO HIS YOUNG SON. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen Chow | 11/13/2012

    " I really enjoyed this book. There're a lot of theological questions that John brings up that require some thought. It was nice that it combined intellectual thoughts on religion with a simple, little-town plot...akin to Jan Karon's Midford series, but better. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eric | 9/29/2012

    " The book mimics the slow life and aging of the main character. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Teresa | 4/12/2012

    " One of the best books I've read in a long time. This book has so much to say about faith and the power of understanding another's story. Don't borrow this one from the library--buy it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mia | 1/19/2012

    " slow. Not my style. Well written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jean M | 1/5/2012

    " Beautifully written letter/journal from elderly preacher near the end of his life to his young son. I loved the wisdom and insight of the main character. Some of it dragged, but some of the writing was profound. Had to return to library, or I would have definitely re-read certain parts. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate | 11/24/2011

    " Really subtle and moving. Great at creating tone that lingers long after reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barb Butler | 8/5/2011

    " The most amazing language - this is a book you want to read aloud. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jacquelyn | 5/21/2011

    " Toward the end of the book, there is a moment where a prodigal son is blessed. I found it to be the most compelling point of the story, even though it is a small part of the greater narrative. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 D. | 5/18/2011

    " I love this book very much. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Genevieve | 5/10/2011

    " Has been pretty slow going. Glad I'm listening to it rather than reading, or I'd never make it through. It takes some concentration, like listening to a grandparent tell a few long stories all woven together in possibly, but not likely, some kind of order. Will finish it eventually.... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nikki | 5/9/2011

    " slow moving, carefully built & reflective. small town iowa w depth & heart, profound but not preachy, ironically. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ctb | 5/7/2011

    " Masterpiece. My current favorite novel. Imaginative, moving, gifted story telling.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patti | 5/5/2011

    " I loved Housekeeping so I picked up this book. The writing is fantastic but the fact that it is written as a letter makes it one-sided and emotionally bare at times. But I enjoyed reading it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maureen | 5/4/2011

    " One of my favorite novels of all time, one of the few i reread over the years. deeply moving as a spiritual journey through life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pablo | 4/30/2011

    " Hum...ok book. The first half was interesting, but began to drag in the second half. Very slowly unfolding story told in flashback in memior/letter-written form. Kind of got bored with it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stefanii | 4/30/2011

    " Didn't love this book, but every time I tried to quit reading it, I ended up picking it up again and reading just a few more pages... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dan | 4/27/2011

    " A preacher?s letter to his son "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 4/26/2011

    " It is smooth, poignant, filled with love and forgiveness and ironic in its imperfect humanity. And, I have no criticism to make which in itself is a rather immense compliment. "

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