Gilead: diary of dying preacher


Leaf Staff

Gilead is Marilynne Robinson’s first novel on a series established in Gilead, Iowa. This Pulitzer Prize winning book features the musings and account of Reverend John Ames for his son. It looks into faith,, life, and the human condition in a memorable way.

“Gilead” is author Marilynne Robinson’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel. The first in a series on a small town (Gilead) in Iowa. Reverend John Ames is writing a journal meant to be given to his son upon his death.

Being an older man with a young son, he wishes to give his son all his fatherly wisdom and memories that he might not be able to provide while his son grows up, as he would wish to.

“Gilead” is interesting in that it is a first person written account of an old preacher’s thoughts and reflections on life, Gilead, and theology. Not following the traditional story arc, Robinson introduces reflections, present events, imaginings of the future, and, most interestingly, the doubts, questions, and theology of the Rev. Ames.

Anyone who enjoys reading about spirituality, historical fiction, and stories more character and thought driven than plot driven should look into reading Gilead. Following this novel are Robinson’s two other “Gilead” stories, “Home” and “Lila,” which are written in a similar style.

However, “Gilead” is not simply for Christian readers. Robinson’s writing goes beyond traditional religion and speaks on the universal human themes of love, life, and loss.


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