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Jack: A Novel por Marilynne Robinson
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Jack: A Novel (edição 2020)

por Marilynne Robinson (Autor)

Séries: Gilead (4)

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4102547,116 (3.68)37
Título:Jack: A Novel
Autores:Marilynne Robinson (Autor)
Informação:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2020), 320 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca

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Jack por Marilynne Robinson

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Mostrando 1-5 de 25 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Marilynne Robinson's "Gilead" novels always take their time and take you into their world completely. I feel that at some level I failed this book a little. It asks for and deserves attention and I know that my reading right now is more relaxed and offhand. However, the beauty of the prose and the totality of the story just pulled me in and transported me to another time and place. Novels that pull off that trick are amazing. Jack is not always easy to like, he is frankly a mess, but he knows it and I found myself letting go of my judgement and bringing in my compassion, a lesson for our times if ever there was one. The phrase that is often used is "show, don't tell" when it comes to fiction and this book shows you why that works. Instead of telling you how you should feel about the characters it shows you how they are and allows you to figure it out for yourself. Jack's self-awareness is keen and leads to observations like "He suspected he drank to give himself a way of accounting for the vast difference between any present situation and the intentions that brought him to it." I still kept yelling at the page "stop drinking so much!" but I began to see why he did. His relationship with an African-American woman is obviously problematic in 1950s St. Louis but he is not about pragmatism. Each time he tries that he is reset, as he puts it "Just when he thought he knew something about the rest of his life, there she was." The relationship is rendered so honestly that the love and beauty that come from it feel real, not like some Hallmark movie contrivance. There is every reason for them not to be together and only one reason they should be. But that is the important one. It costs Della to be with Jack but she sees him, really sees him, and she can't turn away. The opening section, which takes place in a cemetery overnight, is just an amazing way to open a novel. The entire book works like that, each piece is important and I had the feeling that Ms. Robinson considers each and every word she writes. This is the kind of book I can see myself re-reading in a few years. There is a lot in it. But most of all there is the act of living by people, the attempt to fight through and commit "...his grandest larceny by far, this sly theft of happiness from the very clutches of prohibition." Human beings have and deserve dignity. All of us. ( )
  MarkMad | Jul 14, 2021 |
Profound and skillful portraiture. Liked that this book had more dialogue than most Robinson, which is predominantly intensely ruminative. This one is too, but at least you get to hear characters conversing more than usual for her. As much as I admire her, I wish there was less circularity and OCD in her characters. Most seem mentally ill to some degree or another. Fascinating even when depressing. But you just want to say "get hold of yourself." ( )
  RGilbraith | May 23, 2021 |
As usual from Marilynne Robinson, inspired writing with deep introspection. But so very sad. ( )
  libq | Apr 10, 2021 |
I didn't get very far into this book. Jack and Delia were engaged in what seemed like an endless conversation that seemed to mainly be about a perceived insult for which Jack had unsuccessfully attempted to apologize. Not my cup of tea. ( )
  phyllis.shepherd | Mar 20, 2021 |
When I read Marilynne Robinson’s “Gilead” some years back, I felt it was one of the best books I had come across in a long time. Set in in 1950s Iowa, it consists of a long letter from a dying 76-year old Congregationalist minister John Ames to his little son, the unexpected blessing of his old age. As Ames sifts through his memories, the story of his family (particularly his preacher father and grandfather) and the community which they served starts to take shape. Old pains and preoccupations resurface - particularly those related to the minister's godson and namesake John Ames “Jack” Boughton. A troublemaker in childhood, youth and well into adulthood, is there the possibility of salvation for Boughton as well? Will God's grace ever touch him?

The passage of time has not dulled my admiration for this novel, which is lyrical, poetical, infused with (a Calvinist) theology yet utterly readable. Since Gilead, Robinson returned to the fictional world she created with two other volumes – Home and Lila – which are not sequels as such but, rather, “parallel narratives” featuring the same setting and characters but told from different perspectives.

Jack is the latest addition to the fold. It is, in some ways, a prequel to the “trilogy”, in that is is set in St Louis, Missouri around a decade before the “present” of the other three novels. Its protagonist is John Ames Boughton, the troublemaker who was so much on the mind of his godfather John Ames in Gilead. Jack is the troublemaker of the family, a vagrant living a down-and-out life which also featured a stint in prison. The novel is an account of his relationship with Della Miles, a black woman and daughter of a preacher. The relationship starts off as an unlikely friendship, but soon develops into a love affair, despite the strong opposition of Della’s family.

The novel is told in the third person but, very evidently, from the perspective of Jack. Jack is an interesting case study. He is a prodigal son, a flawed character, an intrinsically good man who, however, seems constantly drawn to evil. He has, however, a strong self-awareness, which leads him to admit that he has not much to offer Della, whom he raises on a pedestal as the epitome of goodness. Much of the novel shows Jack’s tentative steps towards letting himself being overcome by love – and not just any “love”, but a transformative one laced with divine grace.

If all this sounds very theological, be prepared that it is. And whilst Gilead, despite its deep and overt religious themes, was a gripping read, I must admit that I had to make an effort to read through Jack. Certain episodes, such as a passage early on in the novel featuring a long night spent by the lovers in a cemetery (debating theology, I hasten to clarify, rather than indulging in some Goth hanky-panky), became simply too tedious for my liking.

Obviously, the problem might have been that I was not in the mood for heavy stuff. Indeed, there have been several rave reviews of the novel, including one by Sarah Perry in the Guardian. Perry herself writes novels infused with theology of a Calvinist bent (Melmoth comes to mind) and is probably much better-placed than I am to appreciate Robinson’s “Calvinist romance”. I wish, though, that Jack were as exciting as Perry’s theological Gothic. Or, for that matter, as gripping as Robinson’s own Gilead.

https://endsoftheword.blogspot.com/2020/10/jack-by-marilynne-robinson.html ( )
  JosephCamilleri | Mar 5, 2021 |
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