The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Home and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button


Home is a companion volume to the novel Gilead, which won author Marilynne Robinson a Pulitzer Prize. This spiritual novel is set in the same Iowa town. Glory, a former schoolteacher, has returned home after a failed romance to take care of her dying father, the Rev. Robert Broughton. They are just getting used to each other when Jack, the prodigal son among the eight children, arrives after being gone for 20 years.

Although she once adored him, Glory now senses Jack as “the weight of the family’s heart, the unnamed absence, like a hero in a melancholy tale.” He has no job and is in a deep funk. Jack’s self-disgust saddens his father and sister. The minister perks up when his son asks him to explain predestination because it gives him a chance to talk about God’s love.

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