World Book Club

BBC World Service

Society & Culture, Personal Journals

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Personal Journals 39

World Book Club invites the globe's great authors to discuss their best known novel. Presented by Harriett Gilbert, includes questions from World Service listeners.


Marilynne Robinson

September 12th, 2007

Episode 183 of 338 episodes

Gilead is an epistolary novel that is the fictional autobiography of the Reverend John Ames, an elderly congregationalist pastor in the small, secluded town of Gilead, Iowa, who knows that he is dying of a heart condition. An intimate tale of three generations from the Civil War to the 20th Century, Gilead tells a story of fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America's heart. In the luminous voice of Congregationalist minister John Ames, the novel takes the form of a letter to his young son and is a hymn of praise and lamentation to the God-driven existence that the Reverend loves passionately – and from which he will soon part. (Photo: Marilynne Robinson. Credit: Nancy Crampton)