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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Jack

Jack

A Novel

Marilynne Robinson

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Marilynne Robinson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Humanities Medal, returns to the world of Gilead with Jack, the latest novel in one of the great works of contemporary American fiction

Marilynne Robinson’s mythical world of Gilead, Iowa—the setting of her novels Gilead, Home, and Lila, and now Jack—and its beloved characters have illuminated and interrogated the complexities of American history, the power of our emotions, and the wonders of a sacred world. Jack is Robinson’s fourth novel in this now-classic series. In it, Robinson tells the story of John Ames Boughton, the prodigal son of Gilead’s Presbyterian minister, and his romance with Della Miles, a high school teacher who is also the child of a preacher. Their deeply felt, tormented, star-crossed interracial romance resonates with all the paradoxes of American life, then and now.

Robinson’s Gilead novels, which have won one Pulitzer Prize and two National Book Critics Circle Awards, are a vital contribution to contemporary American literature and a revelation of our national character and humanity.

He was walking along almost beside her, two steps behind. She did not look back. She said, “I’m not talking to you.”

“I completely understand.”

“If you did completely understand, you wouldn’t be following me.”

He...

Praise for Jack

“With the sublime Jack, [Marilynne Robinson] resumes and deepens her quest, extending it to the contemplation of race . . . Robinson masterfully allows her protagonists to do the heavy lifting of the storytelling and employs deceptively simple dialogue as her primary tool. But make no mistake—there is richness and depth at every turn. The odds are stacked against this lovestruck couple. But Jack calls to mind what 1 Corinthians 13:7 says about love: It always protects, hopes, and perseveres.” —De'Shawn Charles Winsolw, O, the Oprah Magazine

"Each of her [Robinson's] novels has celebrated the fact that the ineffable is inseparable from the quotidian, and rendered the ineffable, quotidian world back to us, peculiar, luminous, and precise . . . There are passages when Jack’s eye glimmers so clearly on the moment, when his dream logic feels so apt, that the whole world Robinson has illuminated with such care and attention reappears, and we are returned to the prophetic everyday.” —Jordan Kisner, The Atlantic

“‘Contemporary classics’ is the oft-used descriptor of Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead series, the correct method of describing these lasting and constant books . . . [Jack is] a love story with the highest stakes . . . Jack poignantly shows us the messy, complex, heartbreaking side to getting everything you ever wanted.” —Emily Temple, Literary Hub

“A sometimes tender, sometimes fraught story of interracial love in a time of trouble . . . The story f… More…

“With the sublime Jack, [Marilynne Robinson] resumes and deepens her quest, extending it to the contemplation of race . . . Robinson masterfully allows her protagonists to do the heavy lifting of the storytelling and employs deceptively simple dialogue as her primary tool. But make no mistake—there is richness and depth at every turn. The odds are stacked against this lovestruck couple. But Jack calls to mind what 1 Corinthians 13:7 says about love: It always protects, hopes, and perseveres.” —De'Shawn Charles Winsolw, O, the Oprah Magazine

"Each of her [Robinson's] novels has celebrated the fact that the ineffable is inseparable from the quotidian, and rendered the ineffable, quotidian world back to us, peculiar, luminous, and precise . . . There are passages when Jack’s eye glimmers so clearly on the moment, when his dream logic feels so apt, that the whole world Robinson has illuminated with such care and attention reappears, and we are returned to the prophetic everyday.” —Jordan Kisner, The Atlantic

“‘Contemporary classics’ is the oft-used descriptor of Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead series, the correct method of describing these lasting and constant books . . . [Jack is] a love story with the highest stakes . . . Jack poignantly shows us the messy, complex, heartbreaking side to getting everything you ever wanted.” —Emily Temple, Literary Hub

“A sometimes tender, sometimes fraught story of interracial love in a time of trouble . . . The story flows swiftly—and without a hint of inevitability —as Robinson explores a favorite theme, ‘guilt and grace met together.’ An elegantly written proof of the thesis that love conquers all—but not without considerable pain.” —Kirkus (Starred review)

"Robinson’s latest glorious work of metaphysical and moral inquiry, nuanced feelings, intricate imagination, and exquisite sensuousness . . .Myriad manifestations of pain are evoked, but here, too, are beauty, mystery, and joy as Robinson holds us rapt with the exactitude of her perceptions and the exhilaration of her hymnal cadence, and so gracefully elucidates the complex sorrows and wonders of life and spirit.” —Booklist (Starred review)

“Languidly page through a new Marilynne Robinson novel and forget that any world exists outside her rippling cornfields and creaky country kitchens, where slow-building crises of faith and reason are talked through by well-meaning, if troubled, people . . . Prepare to be sucked in by our country’s most thoughtful novelist.” —Vulture

“Robinson’s stellar, revelatory fourth entry in her Gilead cycle . . . is a beautiful, superbly crafted meditation on the redemption and transcendence that love affords.” —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"A meditation on human decency and the capacity for redemption." —Joumana Khatib, The New York Times

"Marilynne Robinson returns once more to the lovely, soulful world of Gilead, Iowa, for another evocative novel about the questions of religion and how we understand our place in the world. The author’s spare, poetic style has already conjured up her near-mythic setting in previous books Gilead, Home, and Lila, and to this near-unimpeachable trifecta she now adds Jack, which focuses its attention on John Ames Boughton, a supporting player in those previous stories. The son of Gilead’s Presbyterian minister, his interracial romance with high school teacher Della is traced from its awkward beginnings to heartfelt (and heartbreaking) later days, with all of Robinson’s signature explorations of the strange power of belief—and the lack thereof." —AV Club

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Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne Robinson is the author of the novels Lila, Home, Gilead (winner of the Pulitzer Prize), and Housekeeping, and the nonfiction books, When I Was a Child I Read Books, Mother Country, The Death of Adam, and Absence of Mind. She teaches at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop.

image of Marilynne Robinsono
Alec Soth / Magnum Photos

Read Articles by the Author at The New York Review of Book

Read Author Biography at Britannica

Meet the Author

September 29 - October 6, 2020

Join Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson for a virtual discussion of her new novel Jack, the latest entry in her Gilead cycle.

READ THE FULL EXCERPT →

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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