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 6 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

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

There is a difference between discriminating against someone because of the group to which he belongs and discriminating against someone on the basis of his actions.
John J. ConleyApril 24, 2018
The choice is yours: Will you be a church consumer or an investor in your parish?
Jack Bentz, S.J.April 24, 2018
Alan Jacobs has dedicated most of his career to bridging gaps not only between Christians and non-Christians but also between disciplines and audiences.
David J. MichaelApril 23, 2018
 Pope Francis greets an elderly woman as he meets with people in a poor neighborhood in Asuncion, Paraguay, in this July 12, 2015, file photo. Pastoral care of the poor and those in need has been emphasis of the pontificate of Pope Francis. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis has brought the legacy of the great saint of Assisi to the very heart of the church’s proclamation to the modern world.
Robert W. McElroyApril 23, 2018