Marilynne Robinson waited more than two decades to write her second novel, a quiet, ruminative and intensely focused story about the aging preacher of a small Iowa town. The book takes the form of a letter written in 1956 by John Ames to his young son, the result of a late marriage. In telling of his own moral struggles, Ames reflects on those of his father and grandfather, both preachers themselves who served in the Civil War and came away changed in vastly different ways. There is humor and humanity in this book, but in its lapidary prose, there is nothing frivolous or wasted.
Top 10 Everything 2004
Come fly with us, and Leo, through the best (and worst) of 2004. Tops in the cinema this year include Scorsese's Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator. Elsewhere, Deadwood was good TV, and a Strange tale fascinated readers.