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.

Advertisement

For more read "After Alice."

Tim Reidy

 

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
8 years 9 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.

Advertisement

The latest from america

What can the church do to help repent for the sins of leaders like Cardinal McCarrick and all those who turned a blind eye to his wrongdoing?
The EditorsJuly 17, 2018
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, is pictured in a 2017 photo (CNS photo/Bob Roller) 
The case shows the mystifying complexity of the human person—or at least this human person.
James Martin, S.J.July 16, 2018
A front-page article published July 16 detailed the alleged abuse of two seminarians in the Diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey, by then-Bishop Theodore E. McCarrick.
Elsie Fisher (photo: A24)
Bo Burnham’s new movie is a joyous reminder that 13 is not, in fact, the best year of your life.
John AndersonJuly 16, 2018