MY GRANDFATHER'S HOUSE by Robert Clark

MY GRANDFATHER'S HOUSE

A Genealogy of Doubt and Faith

KIRKUS REVIEW

An imaginative spiritual autobiography, by novelist and biographer Clark (James Beard, 1993; Mr. White’s Confession, 1998; etc.). As someone who “has been variously, and sometimes simultaneously, a Catholic, a Protestant, a Puritan, a Transcendentalist, an agnostic, and an atheist,” Clark has an interesting personal history. Moreover, the book is a true “genealogy” in the sense that Clark traces many of these diverse religious manifestations through five centuries of his own family history of Griggses, Homers, and Clarkes [sic]. As Clark himself has cycled back between Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism, so too did his ancestors, one of whom served on Henry VIII’s Privy Council during the pivotal English Reformation. In the 17th century, Clark’s now-Protestant family established roots in New England, where another ancestor, a doctor in Salem Village in the 1690s, was the first to be called when two young local girls began having fits, and saw his own servant girl gain notoriety as an accuser. Nineteenth-century ancestors dabbled in Transcendentalism (one was Emerson’s cousin), as Clark himself did “five years too late” while in California in the early 1970s (he missed the heyday of communes but arrived in San Francisco in time for the obligatory religious and sexual exploration). He found that his “grab bag” of eclectic spiritual practices didn—t ultimately satisfy him. Though in the early ’90s he considered himself a latter-day Puritan (“not for nothing did nineties poseurs like me so often dress in black”), a long search has recently led him back to the Catholic Church of his Tudor ancestors, bringing five centuries of history full circle. Creative in its connections of genealogy and personal history.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1999
ISBN: 0-312-20932-0
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Picador
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2000




MORE BY ROBERT CLARK

NonfictionDARK WATER by Robert Clark
by Robert Clark
FictionLOVE AMONG THE RUINS by Robert Clark
by Robert Clark
FictionMR. WHITE'S CONFESSION by Robert Clark
by Robert Clark

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionTHE ANCESTRAL CONTINUUM by Natalia O'Sullivan
by Natalia O'Sullivan