Acedia & me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life

Image of Acedia & me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life
Release Date: 
March 1, 2010
Riverhead Books

Naked honesty is becoming—a rare and beautiful fashion, suited perfectly to the mind of a writer. Determined not to wear any rose-colored veneer of all-is-well-with-people-of-faith, Acedia and Me may be the finest runway Kathleen Norris ever walks in her path through this wilderness life.

Revealing her struggle, and that of her late husband, with the depressive lassitude that can define acedia took enormous courage. A caring kind of mettle that comes from the heart of a writer determined to weave a legacy out of her pain, allowing reader after reader to take its comfort, to warm ourselves in the hope of it.

The religious, the faithful, and the most avowed enemy of religion will find in this book a perfect fit for our reach after peace and meaning. Kathleen Norris has lain herself bare of all the pretense and sermonizing so common in the genre. In their place, she writes with brilliant aim at our humanity, the strains of getting a marriage to survive the hard living that usually comes with it, and the wonderment of whether the cosmos has a single eye or ear to know what we people are going through on this ball set loose on the abyss.

From this one volume, I have been reminded faith often takes groans and fury as its language. That our suffering can become foil for a shocking joy, rising far above words. If you believe yourself alone in stumbling through this wilderness life with feet of clay and, sometimes, a heart of stone, read this piece of birthday-suit honesty and know what is common to us all: The hurts of living, the hope of a mysterious and ageless Divine -- who is presumed to know exactly how we feel after all. Thank you, Kathleen Norris, for this whispering reminder that we surely are not alone -- on mortal and immortal levels. It is as though you've seen behind the thin veil between this life and the next and have written -- hey, all is well, really, no matter the chaos of our times, our doubts, out troubles. In the end, you leave us with the hope all will be far more than well.

Here's to life cloaked in garments of honest faith and doubt, and in living far beyond the worst of ourselves. In this volume, Kathleen, you have helped show us a way to wear them.

I recommend it, no matter your belief or absence thereof, easily assuming you'll take the comfort of finding yourself somewhere along the journey of a woman who writes as a spiritual seeker. Kathleen Norris dares not to have all the answers. She writes with humble determination to find hope in doubts and meaning even in the unique depressive state common to so many.