Read this BEFORE going back home after a long absence, especially if to care for an aging parent or sibling.  There are behaviors in every character and interactions between the characters that bring to mind a thought provoking memory to relate to, to gain insight from, and to find a new way to deal with the past.

Home, by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson, is a book to be read or listened to on many levels.

First, as a Christian fiction or inspirational story. An elder minister father is dying. His youngest single daughter and wayward alcoholic son return home to care for him in his last days, hoping to reconcile the past.

Second, as a psychological study of family interactions and how aging children deal with a dying parent and each other after years apart. How family dynamics and events of when they were children resurface and are never forgotten, but rather have formed who they are and what they’ve become.

Third, as an historical fiction story portraying a way of life in a small rural town in Iowa and how early events formed and reinforced the culture, beliefs and lives of it’s inhabitants.

The reader comes to know the characters intimately through the relaxed pace and familiarity of the writing.  And one can’t help but reflect on one’s own family relationships and past events and how one deals with them through the years.

Marilynne Robinson is the author of the novels Gilead (2004) – winner of the Pulitzer Prize – and Housekeeping (1980).

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