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Books

Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Living with Saints

by Mary O’Connell

“Clever, confident and witty . . . a collection of au courant tales that still manage to emanate a kind of energetic, if bemused reverence and awe at the power of faith in the face of suffering.” –Chicago Tribune

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 240
  • Publication Date February 20, 2003
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-3926-9
  • Dimensions 5" x 7.25"
  • US List Price $12.00

About The Book

Mary O’Connell’s wonderfully inventive debut collection takes dusty icons down from the shelf and sets their spirits loose in the modern world. The result is nothing less than “an extended hagiography of the everyday, written with quiet brio and acid humor, where the sacred and secular blur gloriously into one another” (Los Angeles Times).

Praised for her “gift for mordant wit, which at its best is reminiscent of Lorrie Moore” (The New York Times Book Review), O’Connell draws upon the lives of the saints to show the divine at work in even the most mundane lives. Saint Anne, patron saint of mothers, sits on the corner of a bed offering words of wisdom while a woman, driven to desperate measures to avoid leaving her baby in day care, has sex with her reptilian boss in exchange for time off. A woman left by her glam-rock musician boyfriend tosses and turns in her bed one night only to find that her pillow, stained with his mascara, has become a modern Turin shroud. From the ineffable bonds between fellow sufferers of grave illness, to the mystery of an immaculate pregnancy, to the more quotidian heartbreak of balancing work and motherhood, O’Connell’s stories tackle complicated themes with humor that is “biting but never malicious’ (Library Journal). Readers of all faiths (or none) will be delighted by these savvy and highly original modern visitations.

Tags Literary

Praise

‘smart, devout and blasphemous . . .The sacred and secular blur gloriously into one another.” –Los Angeles Times

“Clever, confident and witty . . . a collection of au courant tales that still manage to emanate a kind of energetic, if bemused reverence and awe at the power of faith in the face of suffering.” –Chicago Tribune


“Inarguably refreshing in its honesty and absolutely pure in the truth as she sees it. I am looking forward to more of what O’Connell sees and writes.” –Molly Ringwald, The Hartford Courant

Living with Saints is funny, shocking and inspirational–a regular book of revelations.” –Camille Cauti, Time Out New York

Living with Saints is a brilliant debut collection. Mary O’Connell is a wonderful writer.” –Thom Jones

“Wickedly funny, crisp and unique. O’Connell’s voice grabs you by the throat and elicits both laughter and tears. The only sin here would be one of omission–read this gem immediately, preferably with vodka.

” –Suzanne Finnamore

“Unlike other recent attempts to reanimate the lives of the saints. . . O’Connell’s fiction reclaims the radical orneriness of these God-obsessed women.” –Mary DiLucia, Commonweal

“O’Connell is a talent to watch.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Wickedly clever [and] sassy in tone from the opening sentence . . . Serious topics are addressed in every story and the links between myth and life are tight and always unexpected. . . . Traditionalists may be shocked, but everyone else (nonreligious readers included) will be delighted with these well-crafted, inventive and highly original modern visitations.” –Publishers Weekly

“O’Connell’s powerful short-story collection draws upon the lives of the saints to show the divine at work in even the most mundane lives. With humor that is often biting but never malicious, authentic and never forced, O’Connell finds parallels between ancient saints and contemporary women. [These stories] are irreverent, but never profane.” –Library Journal

‘sharp, ironic, often hilarious, laced with one-liners . . . not only sinfully funny but curiously uplifting . . . [O’Connell’s] offbeat language is precisely aimed.” –Aisling Foster, Times Literary Supplement