Published: 2004, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Genre: Literary Fiction
Accolades: 2005 - Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 2004 - National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, 2006 - long list Orange Prize for Fiction
76-year-old Congregationalist Minister John Ames is dying of a heart condition. Still capable of preaching and mentally sharp he has decided to write a letter - a journal of his thoughts - to his young son to explain the family's history, who he is, and what he believes. Set in Gilead, Iowa in 1956 this quiet, profound book is the story of a life and a faith that can move mountains if only it can forgive.
There are certain books that as soon as you read the first two or three pages you know that it is special - that it will change you somehow - maybe not lightning bolt jolts, but small, subtle movements near your heart. Gilead was that book for me. Gilead begins with John Ames counting the blessings of his life and expressing the joy of having found love and having a child in the twilight of his years.
In the bible Gilead means hill of testimony and that is what the book Gilead is for John Ames his testimony of a well-lived life.
My Rating: 5 out of 5