• Jack (Oprah's Book Club)

  • A Novel
  • By: Marilynne Robinson
  • Narrated by: Adam Verner
  • Length: 10 hrs and 26 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (223 ratings)

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Jack (Oprah's Book Club)

By: Marilynne Robinson
Narrated by: Adam Verner
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Publisher's Summary

"Robinson’s slow prose is the star here, and narrator Adam Verner gives great depth of emotion to Jack’s raw suffering and ethical dilemmas.... Come for the love story; stay for a couple who learn to find the beauty in broken humanity, and what grace can look like for those who love each other." (Booklist

This program includes a bonus conversation with the author.

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. 

A Macmillan Audio production from Farrar, Straus and Giroux

©2020 Marilynne Robinson (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

New York Times Book Review Notable Books of the Year, 2020

The Guardian (UK) Best Books of the Year, 2020

Financial Times Books of the Year, 2020

Los Angeles Times Holiday Books Guide, 2020

Esquire Magazine Best Books of the Year, 2020

NYPL Best Books of the Year, 2020

Minneapolis Star Tribune Holiday Book Recommendations, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year, 2020

Time Magazine Best Books of the Year, 2020

NPR Best Book of the Year, 2020

Featured Article: The Best Audiobook Series of All Time by Genre


What makes a good audiobook series? There are as many answers to this question as there are listeners. For some, it might be epic battles. For others, it might be ongoing romantic twists and tensions. For still others, it might be elongated character studies or an in-depth analysis of a particular time and place. But the universal element of a truly great series is that it sticks with you long after the last word. These are our favorites from every major genre.

What listeners say about Jack (Oprah's Book Club)

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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I Didn't Want The Story To End!

It has been a long time that I've been so thoroughly captivated by a book but I quickly fell in love with the characters of Jack and Della. I appreciated that they did not fall into the generic literary conventions they could have easily succumbed to. They were so different from each other but also deeply similar. The beautifully portrayed progression of their relationship left me practically breathless with anticipation. The highs and lows they experienced felt achingly poignant. I would describe this as an eternal love story but not just love in the romantic sense. Their love seemed to transcend the smallness of the world around them and bind them together as two matching souls. I was so invested in their story that I did not want it to end and would have glad listened on for many more hours. Marilynne Robinson poetically lays bear her characters with heartbreaking and empathetic honesty. I look forward to reading more of her work. Adam Verner's narration subtly but expertly evokes the joy and anguish throughout the novel. I loved this book so much and I highly recommend it.

6 people found this helpful

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Praise for Jack

Another beautiful book from Marilynne Robinson taking us further into the world of Gilead. Living in an interracial marriage myself the book made me think about the challenges couples faced when this choice was viewed with such negative societal judgement.
Our current political climate makes me fear that we are going backwards. We must not let that happen.

5 people found this helpful

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Disappointed

I usually love this author's books and was looking forward to this book. The plot(?) moves slowly and the voice drones on and on and on. Perhaps it would be better to read this book, but I think I still would have gotten bogged down by the lazy pace. The droning voice was like wading through waist deep molasses. and I found it difficult to even finish this book.

4 people found this helpful

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Ouch

I’m a big fan of this author. I enjoyed reading the other books in this trilogy + one. Jack is such a pathetic character. Following his thought process is painful...ouch. Reader did a nice job.

3 people found this helpful

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Poor Audio Choice

I found the narrator distracting and struggled to finish the book. I have read all the other Gilead novels and was so disappointed.

2 people found this helpful

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Elegant story, flawed performance

I thought the novel itself was good. I wasn't familiar with Robinson's work prior to this, but that didn't detract from listening to this book. What did, however, was the narrator's odd cadence. I'm sure he's a nice man. I just don't want to hear him speak anymore.

2 people found this helpful

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quite the series

After the third book in the Gilead series I didn't really expect there to be another book. But, after several years, this book came out. Interesting that the author chose to elaborate on an episode mentioned in the earlier books but never in great detail, not like in this book.

In the summer of Black Lives Matter comes this book where interracial love is front and center. This book was set in the 1940s and 50s where there were many vestiges of the Civil War remained. In the period from this timeframe to now, 2020, many more changes have come but there is still a longs way to go for equality to continue to evolve.

The author's books are intellectual and the listener needs to listen intently to grasp it all. You have to really want to listen to the story. The story touches on a tough life chosen by the two main characters. You wonder during the story whether society would end the relationship but you have to believe the author will give you some hope, which she does in the end. It won't be an easy life but the way of the world does come through.

If you haven't listened to the earlier books in the series I strongly recommend that you go to the beginning of the series and work your way though the earlier books.

1 person found this helpful

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No need for this book in the Gilead series

When I saw that Marilynne Robinson's new Gilead-series book was called Jack, I was really looking forward to reading about Jack's life after we left him in the novel Home. To my dismay, Robinson chose to write about the period just before Home, the circumstances of Jack's meeting Della. Nothing is new or refreshing about this book--we basically could gather its contents from Home. There was only one possible new aspect of Jack's life that could have been covered in this book--and here Robinson is totally silent: How it came about that the Jack who was able to walk away from his responsibilities as the father of a child (when Glory asks Jack in Home why he doesn't marry the mother of the child, Jack says: "you saw her"), is able to miraculously have this incredible relationship of the heart with Della. The man whom it is to be supposed acted strictly out of lust, now is a man who is drawn to Della by anything but lust. How did this transformation occur? The reader hasn't a clue.

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Such a wonderful book

I was transfixed by this story. So beautiful and such a tragic state of affairs. The writer has done an amazing job in describing the many thoughts of Jack .

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Poor narration

The narrator try to speak in a female feminine voice, just kills it for me. I couldn’t follow along or even start to enjoy the book. He is great doing the male part. However, that high pitched southern woman voice, not so much!!! I’ll just read the book.