Friday, June 22, 2012

Five best books featuring pariahs

Richard Zimler's novels include The Seventh Gate and The Warsaw Anagrams.

One of his five best books featuring pariahs, as told to the Wall Street Journal:
by Marilynne Robinson (2008)

Jack Boughton was the favorite child of his minister-father, the young boy's special grace plain to everyone. And yet from the earliest age, as Marilynne Robinson writes in the novel "Home," Jack insisted on standing apart from his siblings. "There was an aloofness about him," we're told, one that "had enforced a peculiar decorum on them all. No hugging, no roughhousing could include him. Even his father patted his shoulder tentatively, shy and cautious. Why should a child have defended his loneliness that way?" Twenty years after his leaving home in disgrace for fathering a child out of wedlock, Jack returns to his Iowa hometown. Still blessed with his old charisma, but causing suspicion and resentment in neighbors and family friends, he endeavors to repair his relationship with his father and win back the old man's trust. Robinson explores the relationships between Jack, his timid, caring sister, Glory, and their pious father with delicate understanding and unpretentious wisdom. The novel is an ennobling exploration of the way human beings both sustain and injure those they most love.
Read about another novel on the list.

Writers Read: Richard Zimler (August 2007).

--Marshal Zeringue