Described in Ron Hansen's introduction as 'a very American variation on St. John of the Cross's Dark Night of the Soul
,' Edwin O'Connor's Edge of Sadness
has been out of print for over thirty years-due, in part, to its pre-Vatican II perspective on the Catholic Church. Chronicling the return of Father Hugh Kennedy-a recovering alcoholic-to the priesthood, O'Connor portrays a jaunty, relatively carefree and negligent pastor with nary a mention of typical pastoral duties such as parish councils, confessions, baptisms, weddings, funerals, or preaching. In fact, the majority of the story centers on the unruly world of the Carmodys, a passionate and prosperous parish family with whom Father Kennedy finds himself entangled and through whom his arid soul finally finds transformation. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1961, The Edge of Sadness
offered (in the words of one critic) 'the first dimensionally human priest to emerge from the pages of an American novel' and was reported to be the first novel Jesuit seminarians were allowed to read in their training-not for its insider's view of the ecclesiastical life, but for its 'intensely honest and unsentimental' evocation (to quote Ron Hansen) of 'the age-old maladies of selfishness, lethargy, indifference and bleakness of soul' which resonate in any soul capable of hope. 646 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
"A realistic Christian novel of hope in a non-Christian age."--"New England Quarterly""A deeply felt and eloquently expressed work . . . A quiet, gentle novel of considerable insight and charm . . ."--"Library Journal "
"O'Connor succeeds in delineating poignantly the overwhelming spiritual storms of the soul which assail the conscientious clergyman."--"The Christian Century" Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction In this moving novel, Father Hugh Kennedy, a recovering alcoholic, returns to Boston to repair his damaged priesthood. There he is drawn into the unruly world of the Carmodys, a sprawling, prosperous Irish family teeming with passion and riddled with secrets. The story of this entanglement is a beautifully rendered tale of grace and renewal, of friendship and longing, of loneliness and spiritual aridity giving way to hope.