After Alice

In our latest addition to our online Books & Culture section, Rev. Robert E. Lauder places Alice McDermott in the great pantheon of great Catholic writers. Father Lauder, a professor of philosophy at St. John's University in New York, compares McDemott's fiction to giants of the 20th century like Graham Greene and Flannery O'Connor and finds a notable difference in her approach to the role of God in the world:

To read [Graham Greene's] The Power and the Glory and The End of the Affair in tandem with McDermott’s Charming Billy and After This is to be struck not only by how profoundly Catholic each novel is, but also by the different lenses through which each author presents the mystery of God. In McDermott’s world God could never be described as an outsider or an intruder. If poet Francis Thompson’s “The Hound of Heaven” illuminates Greene’s work then poet Gerard Manley Hopkins’ insight “The world is charged with the grandeur of God” illuminates McDermott’s. She sees creation as sacramental, and within this sacramental world grace works ever so subtly.

For more read "After Alice."

Tim Reidy

 

7 years 4 months ago
Honestly, McDermott is so careful and dull and mannered and meticulous about not much of anything - no one could ever mistake her work for "great" literature of any kind.  Nice try, though. Great literature is about risks. McDermott takes no risks.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

“Amoris Laetitia” addresses the reality of Catholics in “non-legitimate unions” and opens the possibility for them to receive the Eucharist under certain conditions.
Gerard O'ConnellFebruary 22, 2017
Immigration officials “no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement” and “have full authority to arrest or apprehend an alien whom an immigration officer has probable cause to believe is in violation of the immigration laws.”
Michael O'LoughlinFebruary 21, 2017
El sistema de libre empresa es compatible con nuestra preocupación por los desfavorecidos, escribe un economista y católico converso.
Arthur C. BrooksFebruary 21, 2017
The pope's emphasis on protecting undocumented workers is particularly significant for Europe and the United States, where the treatment of refugees and migrants has been a consistent challenge.
Gerard O'ConnellFebruary 21, 2017