In this seminar we will read Robinson’s third, fourth, and fifth novels, Home, Lila, and Jack. These novels complete the quartet that begins with Gilead. Home takes up the story of one of that novel’s characters, Jack Boughton. Nemesis of Gilead’s narrator John Ames and son of Ames’s best friend, Rev. Robert Boughton, Jack has returned to his childhood home unexpectedly after a twenty-year absence. Now he, his aging father, and his recently-divorced younger sister Glory must navigate a difficult and often painful reunion, haunted by the mistakes and misunderstandings of the past.
Lila tells the story of John Ames’s late-life marriage from the perspective of his young wife, whose quiet gentleness reveals little of her wayward, often lonely history. Lila’s story, and her love for Reverend Ames, attest to the resilience of human nature and the surprising, unpredictable ways in which people are drawn together.
Jack, published in 2020, takes us further into the life of the enigmatic and troubled Jack Boughton, as he struggles against his wayward nature to right his course and face the challenges posed in 1950s America by his interracial relationship with Della.
Texts by Marilynne Robinson:
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