Gilead was our 25th book club, the one book that one from all of the other books we had nominated throughout two years. We all loved it, some a little more than others, but overall were very impressed with the novel. We’re recommending you some other things to read if you haven’t yet delved into Home and Lila. We also have some discussion questions at the end in case you’re reading it with your own book club.
Housekeeping is Robinson’s first novel and although there were 20 years between this one and Gilead, the book isn’t less beloved. Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, the eccentric and remote sister of their dead mother.
We recently posted a review of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between The World and Me. Just like Gilead, this book is a letter from a father to a son, only this time non-fiction. Coates explains to his son what it is like to be a black man in the United States, how it has affected him and how it has and will affect his son. Just like Gilead, it’s a powerful read about a man trying to teach his son to find his way through our world.
Robinson cites Mellville often as one of her big influences, and especially Moby Dick. We all know what the story is about, but did you also know that it has loads of information on history and whaling? Does that make you want to read it more or less? We say more.
Possible Discussion Questions:
– How did you feel about John during the novel? Did your perception of him change?
– How does the book portray the possibility of salvation and what are your own thoughts on this subject?
– What have been the differences between all the father-son relationships throughout the novel?
– What did you think of Jack and of John’s response to his being back in Gilead?