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HERE COMES EVERYBODY

In response to Paul Elie’s article “What Flannery Knew” (November 21), I have two names to add to the list of Catholic writers foreseen by O’Connor: Charles D’Ambrosio and Alice McDermott. I heard both authors speak at the 2006 Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College. They share a distinctly Catholic spiritual sense and aesthetic. Both explore the darker, stranger depths of human experience, but they also depict a strong vision of redemptive grace.

In works such as Charming Billy and Child of My Heart, McDermott applies a Catholic sensibility to stories of Irish families in Long Island and the Bronx. Her characters focus on the challenges of attaining sainthood: how to respond in a Christ-like way to particular suffering? In her talk at Calvin College, McDermott pointed out that suffering is part of the human condition, that God joins us in it and offers his timeless model of a love that is not defeated by death.

Likewise, D’Ambrosio’s story “Drummond and Son” depicts a father’s sanctification through caring for his schizophrenic son. That love expects nothing in return: the son will not be saved, nor will he repay or even understand the kindness. The father loves because love is needed. The author’s...

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