“So Deep a Wound”: Garrett Keizer on “Home”

not entirely my own take on things, but it will be a while before I can write up my own response to this novel with honesty and peace of mind, I think; in the meantime, this is very spoilerous, so you should read Gilead and Home and then read this! Had I an atheist friend who asked, “Can you tell me please what this religion business is all about, not as some metaphysical hypothesis or historical phenomenon, but what it really means to be religious?” I might hand him or her a copy of Marilynne R … [Read more...]

I Hope You Know That This Will Go Down on Your Permanent Record: “The Spectacular Now”

Man, I was so close to loving this movie. Basically it's a John Hughes movie where you replace the romantic lead with a barely-functional alcoholic, which to no one's surprise turns out to be the way to make me finally love a John Hughes movie. I really, genuinely adored a lot of this and found it funny, sweet, and poignant, with at least some degree of wisdom.Most of the audience I saw it with (at Bethesda Row Cinema; it's also at E St) did not agree, and to be honest, they were right too. … [Read more...]

“Sometimes You Want to Go Where Nobody Knows Your Name”: Me on “Home”

a searing novel by Marilynne Robinson: You have preserved my life from the pit of destruction, when you cast behind your back all my sins. – Isaiah 38:17Speaking to reporters on a plane back from World Youth Day in Rio, Pope Francis made headlines with his comment, “If [gay people] accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them?” But the hoopla around this comment obscured an even more radical statement in a similar vein: “I see that so many times in the Church, apart from this ca … [Read more...]

Thanatostalgia

I don't actually know who Russell Brand is, except that he's British and popular for some reason and he said this thing, which really resonated with me: A new documentary about comedian Russell Brand lays bare the lifelong grip addiction can hold on an individual—even one with long-term recovery. In Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery, BBC3 follows the 37-year-old as he goes back to visit the Focus 12 Centre in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, where he got clean in 2002. The program shows di … [Read more...]

Take the Guns, Leave the Cannoli–Unless the Cannoli Is What You Need!

I'm a compulsive giver of advice. Despite my demonstrable lack of ability to run my own life like a person, I appear to believe that I could do well running yours. Now and then my friends have to basically say, "That's great and all, stop helping." I have the stereotypical guy thing where the wife just wants to be heard and commiserated with, and the husband insists on trying to solve the problem.Because of this, which I'm trying to present cutely but which can really become a character … [Read more...]

“Unmaker’s Mark”: I review “What Happened to Sophie Wilder”

at AmCon: ...There’s a lot going on here. There’s Sophie’s quest for identity (she has three different surnames throughout the novel), a quest she seems to be trying to escape—she wants to surrender to an identity, sink into it, rather than having to go out and conquer and defend it. She doesn’t want her conversion and subsequent changed life to be about her search for self, but about her encounter with God.There’s a grim consideration of suffering and how it resists narrative. If you demand … [Read more...]

My Keys to Your House

I read Gail Caldwell's 2010 Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship basically because Wesley Hill recommended it so highly. I think my appreciation for the book was more muted than his, but it's a very quick read, and it did portray the small intimacies of friendship between two difficult, standoffish people really well.The short version of the story is that Caldwell met Caroline Knapp when they were both adults and had both quit drinking: Caldwell had been sober for about a … [Read more...]


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