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 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

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

Pope Francis issues public correction to Cardinal Robert Sarah on who has final say over liturgical translations.
Gerard O'ConnellOctober 22, 2017
It is astonishing to think that God would choose to enter the world this way: as a fragile newborn who could not even hold up his own head without help.
Ginny Kubitz MoyerOctober 20, 2017
Protestors rally to support Temporary Protected Status near the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Sept. 26. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
Around 200,000 Salvadorans and 57,000 Hondurans have been residing in the United States for more than 15 years under Temporary Protected Status. But that status is set to expire in early 2018.
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 20, 2017
At the heart of Anne Frank’s life and witness is a hopeful faith in humanity.
Leo J. O'Donovan, S.J.October 20, 2017