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Portraits: Mary Gordon
Martin Amis Margaret Atwood Mary Gordon Colin McGinn David Grossman Anne Provoost
Martin Amis Margaret Atwood Mary Gordon Colin McGinn David Grossman Anne Provoost
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Richard Rodriguez Salman Rushdie Will Power Pema Chödrön Sir John Houghton Jeanette Winterson

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Mary Gordon on death, Donald Trump and the perils of "either/or." Plus, watch full interview with Mary Gordon.

"I wouldn't like to be in a world where everybody was a believer...when we all sort of fell back into this comfort zone of agreeing with each other all the time."
--Mary Gordon

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Author Mary Gordon is widely regarded as one of the leading chroniclers of contemporary Catholic life in America. Her literary oeuvre - novels, short stories, essays, and personal memoirs - paints a rich picture of the complexities of faith, morals, politics, and religious and cultural heritage in the modern world.

Born in New York to a Catholic mother and a father who converted to Catholicism from Judaism, Gordon was raised in a strict religious environment and at one time considered becoming a nun. She attended Barnard College and in 1979 published her first novel, FINAL PAYMENTS. She followed that a year later with THE COMPANY OF WOMEN, both books exploring the challenges faced by young Catholic women as they make their way in the larger, secular world. Her other novels include MEN & ANGELS (1985), THE OTHER SIDE (1989), SPENDING (1998), and PEARL (2005), the story of an Irish-American mother forced to reexamine her faith and political ideals as her daughter slowly starves herself during a hunger strike in Ireland.

With the THE SHADOW MAN: A DAUGHTER'S SEARCH FOR HER FATHER (1996), Gordon turned her attention to her own family, examining the mysterious and complicated life of her father, a Jewish convert to Catholicism who died when she was 7, leaving behind a web of lies and half-truths about his past.

Gordon is also the author of three novellas, collected in THE REST OF LIFE, a book of short stories, TEMPORARY SHELTER (1987), two collections of essays, GOOD BOYS & DEAD GIRLS (1992) and SEEING THROUGH PLACES (2003), and a 2000 biography of Joan of Arc.

She has received the Lila Acheson Wallace Reader's Digest Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and is a three-time recipient of the O. Henry Award for best short story.

Gordon currently teaches literature and writing at Barnard College.

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  • Mary Gordon talksabout PEARL: A TALE OF MOTHERHOOD AND MARTYRDOM

  • Mary Gordon: The Art of Teaching and Writing


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