“To revive the confessio tradition at this moment in our cultural history is no small thing. But that is what Robert Clark has done in this beautiful, captivating memoir.” George Weigel, The Washington Post
“In this rare work of personal narrative that truly achieves historical significance, Robert Clark's family becomes our own. A fascinating work of history as well as a moving, and often hilarious, account of his own religious struggles, My Grandfather's House immediately presents itself as one of the rare American autobiographies that will endure.” Patricia Hampl, author of A Romantic Education
“For those not sure what to make of the God question, Clark has given us a rock-solid place . . . to start. Though we might find a different resolution from his, his search parallels our own: how to gain peace, where to find faith, and what to pass on to our children, who will face the same age-old questions in the new millennium.” Mary Ann Gwinn, The Seattle Times
“This is an odd platypus of a book, a dreamlike hybrid stitched together from half a dozen literary species including autobiography, intellectual and social history, literary criticism and Sunday school sermon. Like a platypus, it is gawky and beautiful, cuddly and off-putting and curiously compelling.” Philip Zaleski, The New York Times Book Review
“Elegantly written and historically informative, My Grandfather's House is a fascinating, passionate, and inspiring spiritual autobiography.” Ron Hansen, America
“An imaginative spiritual autobiography . . . The book is a true 'genealogy' in the sense that Clark traces many diverse religious manifestations through five centuries of his own family history.” Kirkus Reviews
Two factors shape this religious memoir: Clark's family and his own experience. In an effort to explain the evolution of his faith, Clark takes readers on a trip through the ages, from the time of his ancestors of the 1500s to his coming of age in the 1960s and 1970s. Along the way, he reflects on history, creeds, art, literature, philosophy, and religion. He points out the faults of the Puritans; calls Mary, the mother of Jesus, "the vehicle by which Christians come to Christ"; and discusses the value of spiritual signs. Although not a meticulous historian, Clarke has nevertheless created a book of general interest. Recommended for larger public libraries.--George Westerlund, Providence P.L., Palmyra, VA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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 andpersonal history.