Monday, March 29, 2021

#88 / Home


As I was finishing up my blog posting from yesterday, titled "Safe At Home" (with that particular blog posting sliding from baseball, to democracy, by way of the coronavirus lock-down), I remembered that I have been wanting to recommend a novel by Marilynne Robinson. The book I want to recommend is titled, Home
Home is the third in a series of four novels, and I haven't read either the first, second, or fourth. Gilead, the first one, won a Pulitzer Prize. Lila is the second. Jack, the latest one, and the fourth in the series, was reviewed not so long ago by The New Yorker. I mentioned that review of Jack back in October, in a blog posting titled, "The Revelation Of Marilynne Robinson." It was that New Yorker review, of a book I hadn't read, that sent me to my own bookshelves, where I found Home
Now that I have read Home, I suppose that I will have to track down the other three. Probably, I'll seek out Jack next, since Home is largely about "Jack," and about his return to his family's home after about twenty years away. Jack is the eldest son of the Reverend Robert Boughton, and is more formally known as John Ames Boughton. Here is a short synopsis of Home by Goodreads:

Glory Boughton, aged thirty-eight, has returned to Gilead to care for her dying father. Soon her brother, Jack—the prodigal son of the family, gone for twenty years—comes home too, looking for refuge and trying to make peace with a past littered with tormenting trouble and pain.
Jack is one of the great characters in recent literature. A bad boy from childhood, an alcoholic who cannot hold a job, he is perpetually at odds with his surroundings and with his traditionalist father, though he remains Boughton’s most beloved child. Brilliant, lovable, and wayward, Jack forges an intense bond with Glory and engages painfully with Ames, his godfather and namesake.
Home is a moving and healing book about families, family secrets, and the passing of the generations, about love and death and faith. It is Robinson’s greatest work, an unforgettable embodiment of the deepest and most universal emotions (emphasis added). 
I did find Home profoundly moving, and I do recommend it. It is an agonizing portrait of a person who is experiencing a deep, and tragic, and self-inflicted loss, the kind of loss that accompanies an inability to accept forgiveness from others or to forgive oneself. I have also been thinking about how to integrate Home into the course I am currently teaching at UCSC. During this Spring Quarter, which begins today, I will be introducing students to "Property and the Law." The course ends up, on June 1st, with an  exploration of adverse possession. As it turns out, Home, on pages 8-13, has a very nice description of adverse possession, and how it works. 
For those not acquainted with the concept, adverse possession allows someone to gain a legal title to land, even though that land is actually owned by someone else, just so long as certain common law requirements are met, and just so long as the adverse possessor is able to maintain possession of the land for a sufficient period of time, as defined by the applicable statute of limitations.
In other words, adverse possession makes it possible for you to lose your home if you let others come in and act as if it were theirs.
That can happen with democracy, too, you know!
Just saying!

Image Credit:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment!