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Book #72

Jack by Marilynne Robinson
Jack tells the story of John Ames Boughton, the black sheep of his family, the beloved and grieved-over prodigal son of a Presbyterian minister in Gilead, Iowa, a drunkard and a ne’er-do-well. In segregated St. Louis sometime after World War II, Jack falls in love with Della Miles, an African-American high school teacher who is also a preacher’s child, with a discriminating mind, a generous spirit, and an independent will.
I see Jack has already been highly lauded by reviewers, and I can only come to the conclusion that it just wasn’t for me. I hadn’t realised, either, that it was part of Robinson’s series Gilead, and despite repeated assurances Jack could stand on its own, I really do feel I’d have done better to have read the three predecessors before plunging into this one.
An interracial relationship in the fifties is truly a remarkable thing to write about, and I was interested to read Robinson’s take on this. A destitute white man falling in love with a s…

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