Books : Prose

Racial Ambivalence: Race in Flannery O’Connor (Fordham University Press 2020)

Radical Ambivalence is the first book-length study of Flannery O’Connor’s attitude toward race in her fiction and correspondence. It is also the first study to include controversial material from unpublished letters that reveals the complex and troubling nature of O’Connor’s thoughts on the subject. O’Connor lived and did most of her writing in her native Georgia during the tumultuous years of the civil rights movement. In one of her letters, O’Connor frankly expresses her double-mindedness regarding the social and political upheaval taking place in the United States with regard to race: “I hope that to be of two minds about some things is not to be neutral.” Radical Ambivalence explores this double-mindedness and how it manifests itself in O’Connor’s fiction.

This is the first significant book-length work to address race in O’Connor… By focusing on ambivalence as the primary attitude that O’Connor held toward African Americans and toward political and social questions bound up with race in the U.S. South, Radical Ambivalence provides the most nuanced account of what there is to be said on the topic thus far. –Thomas F. Haddox, University of Tennessee

Flannery O’Connor: Fiction Fired by Faith (Liturgical Press 2015)

COVER_FLannery Book

Flannery O’Connor: Fiction Fired by Faith tells the remarkable story of the gifted young woman who set out from her native Georgia to develop her talents as a writer and eventually succeeded in becoming one of the most accomplished fiction writers of the twentieth century. Struck with a fatal disease just as her career was blooming, O’Connor was forced to return to her rural home and to live an isolated life, far from the literary world she longed to be a part of.

In this insightful new biography, Angela Alaimo O’Donnell depicts O’Connor’s passionate devotion to her vocation, despite her crippling illness, the rich interior life she lived through her reading and correspondence, and the development of her deep and abiding faith in the face of her own impending mortality. She also explores some of O’Connor’s most beloved stories, detailing the ways in which her fiction served as a means for her to express her own doubts and limitations, along with the challenges and consolations of living a faithful life. O’Donnell’s biography recounts the poignant story of America’s preeminent Catholic writer and offers the reader a guide to her novels and stories so deeply informed by her Catholic faith.

Mortal Blessings: A Sacramental Farewell (Ave Maria Press, Sept 2014)

Mortal Blessings is a stunning meditation on the sacramentality of our living and our dying.  As practical as it is inspiring, its wisdom will be a gift of hope and peace for many.
–Ron Hansen

“In this lyrical adieu to her mother, essayist, poet, and professor Angela O’Donnell explores how the mundane tasks of caregiving during her mother’s final days–bathing, feeding, taking her for a walk in her wheelchair–became rituals or ordinary sacraments that revealed traces of the divine.

With Joan Didion’s grasp of grief, the spiritual playfulness of Mary Karr, and the poetic agility of Kathleen Norris, Angela Alaimo O’Donnell narrates the events that followed her mother’s fall and the broken hip that led to surgery. As O’Donnell and her sisters cared for their mother’s failing body during the last days of her life, they unconsciously observed rituals that began to take on a deeper importance. Bathing her each morning was a kind of baptism, the nightly feeding of pie took on a Eucharistic significance, trimming and polishing nails became a kind of anointing. Beyond the seven there are the myriad sacraments they made up: the sacrament of community via cell phone, the sacrament of wheelchair pilgrimage around the nursing home, and the sacrament of humor and laughter. This deeply human portrait of loss is balanced by the surprising grace found in letting go; it will resonate with any spiritual reader but especially caregivers and those currently in grief.”

The Province of Joy: Praying with Flannery O’Connor (Paraclete Press 2012)

Province of Joy, The: Praying with Flannery O'Connor

“Like a beautiful quilt, The Province of Joy is a deeply loving, imaginative work of art and faith.”               — Elizabeth A. Johnson, author of She Who

“Flannery O’Connor’s stories help us see grace in difficult circumstances. O’Donnell artfully combines selections from her writings with prayers and readings for something wonderful: a prayer book that is old and new, timely and timeless, comforting and provocative.”              –James Martin, SJ, author of My Life with the Saints

“O’Donnell has come to see into the profound heart of the Mystery even as Flannery O’Connor, with all her trials and the torch-like Pentecostal brilliance of her imagination, came to see it. Read this book. Study these pages and pray them.”

–Paul Mariani, Professor of English, Boston College

Teaching the Tradition : Catholic Themes in Academic Disciplines, edited by John Piderit, SJ, and Melanie Morey (Oxford, 2012) Chapter 6: Poetry & Catholic Themes, by Angela Alaimo O’Donnell’donnell+poetry+and+catholic+themes&hl=en&sa=X&ei=gbCuT-nbNoSv6AHc-aW7CQ&ved=0CDsQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=angela%20alaimo%20o’donnell%20poetry%20and%20catholic%20themes&f=false Teaching the Tradition: Catholic Themes in Academic Disciplines

The Catholic Studies Reader, edited by James T. Fisher and Margaret M. McGuinness (Fordham Press, 2011)

Chapter 15: Seeing Catholicly: Poetry & the Catholic Imagination, 

by Angela Alaimo O’Donnell

The Catholic Studies Reader (Catholic Practice in North America)

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