Gordon, Mary 1949–
Gordon, Mary 1949–
(Mary Catherine Gordon)
Born December 8, 1949, in Far Rockaway, Long Island, NY; daughter of David (a writer and publisher) and Anna (a legal secretary) Gordon; married James Brian (an English professor), 1974 (marriage ended); married Arthur Cash (a professor of English), December 1, 1979; children: (second marriage) Anna Gordon, David Dess Gordon. Education: Barnard College, B.A., 1971; Syracuse University, M.A., 1973. Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Theology and musical comedy.
Writer. Dutchess Community College, Poughkeepsie, NY, teacher of English, 1974-78; Amherst College, Amherst, MA, teacher of English, 1979; Barnard College, New York, NY, Millicent C. McIntosh Professor of English, 1988—.
Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, University of Rochester, 1979, for Final Payments, and 1981, for The Company of Women; O. Henry Award for best short story, 1997, for "City Life" in Ploughshares magazine; Guggenheim fellowship; Lila Acheson Wallace/Reader's Digest Writer's Award; O.B. Hardison Award, Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies, for Joan of Arc.
Final Payments, Random House (New York, NY), 1978.
The Company of Women, Random House (New York, NY), 1981.
Men and Angels, Random House (New York, NY), 1985.
The Other Side, Viking (New York, NY), 1989.
Spending: A Utopian Divertimento, Scribner (New York, NY), 1998.
Pearl, Pantheon (New York, NY), 2005.
Circling My Mother, Pantheon (New York, NY), 2007.
Temporary Shelter, Random House (New York, NY), 1987.
The Rest of Life: Three Novellas, Viking (New York, NY), 1993.
The Stories of Mary Gordon, Pantheon (New York, NY), 2006.
AUTHOR OF INTRODUCTION
D. Appelbaum, editor, Bridges: Poets of Dutchess and Ulster Counties, Springtown Press, 1989.
Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth, Random House (New York, NY), 1990.
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1990.
Zelda Fitzgerald, The Collected Writings, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1992.
Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome and Other Short Fiction, Bantam Classic (New York, NY), 1994.
Kate O'Brien, Talk of Angels, Talk Miramax Books (New York, NY), 1997.
E.M. Forster, Howards End, Barnes & Noble Classics (New York, NY), 2003.
Good Boys and Dead Girls: And Other Essays, Viking Penguin (New York, NY), 1992.
The Shadow Man (memoir), Random House (New York, NY), 1996.
Seeing through Places: Reflections on Geography and Identity (autobiographical essays), Scribner (New York, NY), 2000.
Joan of Arc (biography), Viking (New York, NY), 2000.
Conversations with Mary Gordon, edited by Alma Bennett, University Press of Mississippi (Jackson, MS), 2002.
Final Payments, Anchor Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Also contributor to Spiritual Quests: The Art and Craft of Religious Writing, edited by William Zinnser, Houghton, 1988, and to Deadly Sins, Morrow (New York, NY), 1994. Contributor to periodicals, including Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Ladies' Home Journal, Mademoiselle, Redbook, Southern Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review.
Mary Gordon made a name for herself with her first novel, Final Payments, and has continued to impress critics and readers with her subsequent novels, short stories, and essays. Gordon's adept use of language and her willingness to probe unfashionable themes have earned her critical praise.
Gordon's themes in her writing are shaped by her background. She was born in 1949, and her father was a Jewish immigrant who converted to Christianity. "Her mother, Anna Gagliano Gordon, was a polio victim with limited function of her lower body," according to the author's home page, "and was furthermore having her first child at the age of 41." After the death of her father, David, Mary Gordon and her mother moved back into the maternal family home. As a result, the author's home page stated, "Mary Kate [the future author] reached adolescence in a hostile environment. Her mother's family disliked her for her love of books and for her Jewish heritage." The result was an upbringing that mixed conflict and intense religious feelings—themes that came to be reflected in Gordon's writings.
Final Payments is the story of Isabel Moore, a woman of thirty who is about to leave home for the first time. For eleven years she has nursed her domineering and devoutly Catholic father through a series of strokes; upon his death she sets out to live a life of her own. Isabel finds a social service job, develops friendships, and involves herself with married men, but eventually feels remorse for her "self-indulgence." To atone for her presumptuousness, she steps back into the caretaker's role, devoting herself to a woman she despises, Margaret Casey, her father's former housekeeper. Finally, Isabel is saved from self-torment by an alcoholic priest.
Critics found Gordon's treatment of the theme of sacrifice both surprising and compelling. Certain paradoxes, however, surround Isabel's life of devotion. For Wilfred Sheed in the New York Review of Books, the book was "about such matters as the arrogance of loving the unlovable, and the resourcefulness of the latter in breaking their saviors." Doris Grumbach in Saturday Review saw Isabel "caught in a web of Christian virtues: the need for sacrifice, the desirability of celibacy." Altogether, wrote Sheed, Final Payments "gives a picture of certain Catholic lives … more ambiguous than anything either a loyalist or a heretic would have had a mind to produce a few years ago."
One unambiguous aspect of the novel, critics seem to agree, is Gordon's strength as a writer. "From the opening rites of burial …," remarked Martha Duffy in Time, "the reader relaxes, secure in the hands of a confident writer." Sewanee Review contributor Bruce Allen praised "Gordon's spectacular verbal skill [which] allows her heroine to express complex emotional and intellectual attitudes with great precision." Pearl K. Bell in Commentary contended that "it is no small thing, at twenty-nine, to write with Mary Gordon's phenomenal assurance and metaphoric authority." Comparisons have already been made between Gordon and other masters of fiction. Critic Sheed cited similarities between Gordon and Jane Austen. "It is no accident that her model is Austen, the patron writer of the cloistered," noted Sheed.
In her second novel, The Company of Women, Gordon tells the story of Felicitas Taylor and the circle of Catholic women around her: Felicitas's widowed mother, two spinsters, and two women who have lost their husbands to alcohol and an asylum. At the center of their lives is a priest, Father Cyprian, who has abandoned parish work because he no longer believes in the church's contemporary stance on morals. Similar in many ways to Final Payments, The Company of Women has reinforced Gordon's reputation as a penetrating writer of Catholic life. "If there was any doubt that Mary Gordon was her generation's preeminent novelist of Roman Catholic mores and manners when she published her remarkable first novel," contended Francine du Plessix Gray of the New York Times Book Review, "it is dispelled by her new book."
As the novel opens, the worldly hope for the circle of women is Felicitas, an exceptionally bright girl of fourteen. The story moves on in part two to cover Felicitas's life after she leaves a Catholic college to attend Columbia University. There, according to du Plessix Gray, Felicitas "rebels against the idols of her childhood … [and] shacks up with a trendy, philandering Columbia professor and lets her classical studies fall by the wayside." She becomes pregnant, returns to the company of women, and, as Time's R.Z. Sheppard pointed out, "pursues a career in ordinariness with a grudging acceptance." Seven years later, seeking a father for her child, Felicitas marries a hardware store owner. The women, meanwhile, see in Felicitas's daughter their hope for the future.
A question raised by du Plessix Gray is typical of the response to The Company of Women: "Is Miss Gordon's craft as a novelist keeping up with the grand and virginal boldness of her vision?" Du Plessix Gray continued: "If I've been harsh with The Company of Women it is because of my enormous admiration for Miss Gordon's earlier book, for the purity, ambition and grandeur of vision offered in both her books."
In her third novel, Men and Angels, Gordon moved away from the overtly religious themes of her earlier writing to examine the balance of power between men and women, children and parents. The complex story concerns Anne, an art historian who has sought most of her fulfillment in life through her husband and children. Her carefully ordered existence is disrupted when her husband, a professor, travels to Europe for a year on a fellowship. In his absence, Anne takes on the challenge of researching the life of Caroline Watson, an early twentieth-century artist whose paintings have just been rediscovered. The insight Anne gains from this research troubles her, as does her unaccustomed independence; she finds that the assumptions that have heretofore ruled her behavior are crumbling. Her life is further complicated by Laura, a disturbed au pair girl whose religious fanaticism and desperate need for love pose a threat to Anne and her family.
Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times conceded that Gordon's male characters are not well-developed, that the character of Laura functions as a melodramatic plot device, and that the feminist reading given to everything in the book becomes tiresome; yet she also contends that "these, however, are fairly minor quibbles with what is essentially a beautifully written and highly ambitious novel—a novel that marks a new turn in Miss Gordon's brilliant career." Kakutani described Men and Angels as a "fierce, shining novel" and praised Gordon's "dense, lyrical prose," which "conjures up Anne's world with extraordinary precision."
In various ways, Final Payments, The Company of Women, and Men and Angels all exposed the workings of a single woman's relationship to the world. Gordon moved beyond this perspective in The Other Side, a novel that details the day the patriarch of an Irish-American clan leaves his peaceful, happy life in a nursing home to satisfy his obligations to his violent, hateful wife. Within the context of that single day, The Other Side tells the story of five generations and spans two continents. The themes explored in Gordon's earlier novels—self-sacrifice, the limitations of love, and the dangers inherent in quotidian life—are examined again here, but they have "a new immediacy and scope," stated Kakutani in the New York Times. Gordon "masterfully gives us the point of view of half a dozen characters, revealing the domino-like effect of their choices upon one another, the clash and confluence of their feelings."
Washington Post Book World contributor Kit Reed observed that "the work is strangely diffused by the looping, shifting narrative" and warned that by "mining the memories of so many characters over eight decades, [Gordon] risks losing the reader." Yet, Reed conceded, "it's worth the gamble. The characters' convictions, their passions and obsessions draw us through the maze of memory to an exploration of the nature of faith and, even in the territory of failed gestures, the persistence of love." Kakutani summarized: "Mary Gordon has written an old-fashioned novel about a single family and the complicated emotional configurations that join one member of that clan to another, a richly patterned domestic novel that opens out effortlessly into an examination of the immigrant experience—and its legacy—in America today. The result is a fine, full-bodied book, the author's most ambitious yet."
In her seventh book, The Rest of Life: Three Novellas, Gordon uses the novella form to present vignettes about three women ranging from middle-aged to elderly. She reveals the characters and their stories "like a sculptor who shapes and reshapes a figure by pressing bits of clay onto a wire armature," commented Alison Lurie in the New York Times Book Review. While religion plays a role in each novella, it serves as backdrop to the characters' lives.
In the first story, Immaculate Man, the nameless narrator works at a battered women's shelter and is having an affair with a Roman Catholic priest who has never been close to a woman. She is tormented by the fear that he will leave her for someone else, possibly one of the women at her shelter. In an interview with Patrick H. Samway in America, Gordon stated that she was interested in portraying an "innocent man." She went on to note: "We usually think of most innocents in fiction as either mentally defective or women." In the second novella, Living at Home, the again nameless narrator who works with autistic children has, after two previous husbands, finally found a man with whom she wishes to stay, but he is a photojournalist who covers war zones. The title novella focuses on an elderly widow who returns to Turin after fleeing in her early teens, following the suicide of her young lover. They had agreed to a suicide pact but she changed her mind and was banished by her father in shame. In revisiting the area with her son, she contemplates the meaning of "the rest of life."
Critics continued to admire Gordon's quiet but powerful prose. "In her precise and lovely prose, her crystalline attention to the details of human experience, her delicate rendering of the drama of consciousness, there is more than a suggestion of goodness," Akins continued. Lisa Zeidner in the Washington Post Book World wrote: "Gordon's prose isn't show, but it's rich in image and connection." Zeidner went on to note that "The Rest of Life allows us to sink into the characters' thoughts as if sitting in a trellised garden in late afternoon, with nothing to do but enjoy the crisp solitude." Some reviewers found Gordon's focus on three women and their relationships with men to be meaningful as well. Lurie remarked: "I think we must read this book not as a post-feminist assertion of our essential emotional weakness but as a cautionary tale: a skilled and complex portrait of three strong … women who have been deeply damaged by their dependence on men."
Gordon brings her intense gaze homeward with her memoir, The Shadow Man, a moving account of her father. The title of the memoir refers to the fact that, upon researching her father for the book, Gordon discovered that her memories and collected facts about her father were false. While she had thought he had attended Harvard and lived the life of a left-wing Jewish intellectual prior to converting to Catholicism, he had, in fact, been a high school dropout who had worked as a railroad clerk. He was born Israel, not David, Gordon, in Vilna, Lithuania, not Lorain, Ohio. He had also written for a soft-porn magazine, been previously married, had siblings in mental hospitals, and, despite his Jewish heritage, was rabidly anti-Semitic to the point of supporting Mussolini and Franco.
Not surprisingly, critics were moved by Gordon's work: "A passionate and extravagant account," concluded William H. Pritchard in the New York Times Book Review. Pritchard found the highly charged and personal memoir almost too close to the bone, stating that "the narrative is strongest and liveliest when [Gordon] is able to see herself in incongruous relation to institutions and objects that are not, as she is, obsessed with a single passion…. Eventually this reader's sympathies were with the father who, as she imagines him writhing in torment, asks, ‘Why are you doing this to me?’" John Skow in Time noted that the book "turns frantic, and to some extent loses direction, as it becomes clear that she is not going to find [her father] at the precise point of shame and bitterness when the immigrant experience persuaded him to construct a disguise." Other reviewers, however, felt Gordon retained control of her craft. Michiko Kakutani commented in the New York Times that The Shadow Man, "amazingly, reconciles Ms. Gordon's feelings of love and horror, guilt and forgiveness, and transforms them into art." John Leonard, writing for the Nation, was reminded of "other memoirs, variously apposite," noting that the author provides "a female point of view on excess, secrecy and dysfunction … [like] Germaine Greer."
Spending: A Utopian Divertimento is a novel unlike Gordon's previous work with its presentation of a large of amount of descriptive sex. Spending relates the story of Monica Szabo, a fifty-year-old artist who happens to obtain a wealthy male patron on a whim. The patron, known as "B," wholeheartedly supports her art, as well as their sex life. Gordon told Jennifer Schuessler for Publishers Weekly, "With Spending, I wanted to write a book about pleasure in its various forms." Maureen Corrigan of Nation commented: "It's as though after all these years of kneeling, resentful but spellbound, in the darkened confessional, Gordon has decided to rend the curtains and treat herself and her readers to a vision of an earthly paradise." But Corrigan noted the serious aspect of the work, "and that is the plight of the woman artist." "This novel is a witty and graphically sexy fantasy about money, art, modern mores, and, above all, good physical partnering," wrote a Library Journal contributor. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly noted surprise that "Gordon can write erotica!," and also related that "she is equally adept at capturing an artist's way of looking at the world, and the process by which a work of art evolves." Sharon Thompson of Artforum called the novel "absorbing reading." Robert H. Bell of Commonweal described it as "immensely engaging, fun, a delightful romp."
Seeing through Places: Reflections on Geography and Identity contains eight autobiographical essays. The essays concern various periods and places of Gordon's life, from her childhood at her grandmother's home to her college years at Barnard. "This beautiful but uneven memoir evokes above all the intensely sensual and emotional perceptions of childhood," wrote a reviewer for Publishers Weekly. "Seeing through Places attempts to trace lines … between past and present, between the physical geography of her youth and her adult emotional maps," noted Rachel Elson for Salon.com. Donna Seaman for Booklist noted that Gordon "reveals the foundation for the prevailing themes of her fiction—religion, family, art, and romance."
In 2000, Gordon pursued another form of writing with her biography Joan of Arc. Though many studies exist about Joan of Arc, Kathy O'Connell of America noted that "what Mary Gordon's slender but meaty book on Joan of Arc does especially well is strip away several centuries of accrued mythology and try to explain her enduring appeal." O'Connell found Gordon's study "refreshing and insightful" because "she never loses sight of Joan's age[,] … her femaleness, or the stubbornness of her intelligence." Sally Cunneen of Christian Century wrote: "Joan is too large, elusive, and contradictory to be contained in any single take. But Gordon's biographical meditation is a readable and substantive introduction to the life and meaning of the medieval heroine." A reviewer writing in Publishers Weekly called the biography a "slender but satisfying account."
Gordon continued with her Catholic themes in the novel Pearl. The story revolves around Maria, her daughter Pearl, and Joseph, who owes a debt to Maria's family and has sacrificed his career in academia to act as a sur- rogate father to Pearl. The novel opens with Pearl chaining herself to a flagpole at Ireland's Trinity College in a protest outside the American embassy. When Maria learns of the situation, she books a flight for Ireland and the reader is told the story of this unusual "family," in which Catholic traditions play an important role. A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that "Pearl's story … [is] the most interesting and freshest of the three." Beth E. Andersen, writing in the Library Journal, commented that Gordon "creates an atmosphere of nerve-racking tension that hurts." In a review in Booklist, Donna Seaman called the book "surpassingly suspenseful, brilliant, and affecting."
Gordon's father founded a number of unsuccessful, right-wing Catholic magazines before his death, which occurred when the author was eight. Her mother was a victim of polio suffered at age three; despite this, she supported the family. Speaking with Samway, Gordon noted that she "had a childhood that (was) wholly unlike anyone else's because my parents … were absolutely not typeable." She went on to note that "my parents had virtually nothing in common except a very real spiritual life." The author added: "They were not fooling around. They both had spiritual lives of very high seriousness."
Gordon rejected the church during her teen years, and she commented on some of its negative aspects to Alvin P. Sanoff in U.S. News & World Report: "You don't see a lot of Catholics in American writing, and that's not an accident. The whole history of the arts has a shocking absence of Catholics. That kind of creativity was not valued in the American Catholic Church; it was seen as a threat because it would get you outside the parish, open you to the world and let you think in ways that could be threatening and dangerous. I don't think I could have been a writer if my father hadn't been a Jew." Nevertheless, Gordon embraced the church again upon reaching adulthood. Gordon once explained to CA: "Though certain realities of the church—such as its refusal to ordain women—appall me, it is a caretaker of a kind of spirituality that matters a lot to me."
"Despite my upbringing, I don't like to be described as a Catholic novelist," she declared to Sanoff. "I don't think you'd call John Updike a Protestant novelist. There are things I wrote about that came out of my past that had to do with Catholicism, but that's not all I do." Summing up her world view, she mused: "Life is pretty dire and sad on the whole. I'm obsessed with the idea that the world is a dangerous place and terrible things can happen—aging and illness and loss of love—you name it, you can lose it. That's a sense I have always had." But she concluded: "Even though life is quite a sad business, you can have a good time in the middle of it. I like to laugh, and I think the unsung, real literary geniuses of the world are people who write jokes. Both the Irish and Jews are very fatalistic, but they laugh a lot. Only the Protestants think that every day in every way, life is getting better and better. What do they know?"
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Bennett, Alma, Mary Gordon, Twayne (New York, NY), 1996.
Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 13, 1980, Volume 22, 1982.
Contemporary Novelists, 6th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 6: American Novelists since World War II, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1980.
Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook: 1981, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1982.
Gordon, Mary, The Company of Women, Random House (New York, NY), 1981.
Sheldon, Barbara H., Daughters and Fathers in Feminist Novels, P. Lang (New York, NY), 1997.
America, June 8, 1996, Patrick H. Samway, review of The Shadow Man, p. 24; August 15, 1998, John C. Hawley, review of Spending: A Utopian Divertimento, p. 19; June 17, 2000, Kathy O'Connell, "She Who Battles," p. 33.
Artforum, March, 1998, Sharon Thompson, review of Spending, p. S17.
Booklist, March 1, 1996, Joanne Wilkinson, review of The Shadow Man, p. 1074; December 1, 1997, Donna Seaman, review of Spending, p. 587; November 15, 1999, Donna Seaman, review of Seeing through Places: Reflections on Geography and Identity, p. 578; April 15, 2000, Mary Carroll, review of Joan of Arc, p. 1518; October 1, 2004, Donna Seaman, review of Pearl, p. 282; September 1, 2006, Donna Seaman, review of The Stories of Mary Gordon, p. 55.
Christian Century, March 10, 1999, Trudy Bush, review of Spending, p. 291; May 24, 2000, Sally Cunneen, review of Joan of Arc, p. 611.
Commentary, September, 1978, Pearl K. Bell, review of Final Payments.
Commonweal, May 17, 1996, Sara Maitland, review of The Shadow Man, p. 17; April 10, 1998, Robert H. Bell, review of Spending, p. 28.
Entertainment Weekly, August 2, 1996, Rhonda Johnson, review of The Shadow Man, p. 54; October 15, 2006, Karen Karbo, review of The Stories of Mary Gordon, p. 135.
Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2004, review of Pearl, p. 977; August 1, 2006, review of The Stories of Mary Gordon, p. 742.
Library Journal, January, 1998, Starr Smith, review of Spending, p. 140; December, 1999, Carol Ann McAllister, review of Seeing through Places, p. 132; October 15, 2004, Beth E. Andersen, review of Pearl, p. 53; September 1, 2006, Reba Leiding, review of The Stories of Mary Gordon, p. 140.
Los Angeles Times, April 7, 1998, Mary McNamara, "Mary Quite Contrary," p. E2.
Maclean's, June 22, 1998, review of Spending, p. 48.
Nation, May 6, 1996, John Leonard, review of The Shadow Man, pp. 24-28; March 16, 1998, Maureen Corrigan, review of Spending, p. 29.
National Catholic Reporter, May 7, 1999, Judith Bromberg, review of Spending, p. 33; May 5, 2000, Patty McCarty, review of Joan of Arc, p. 41.
New Leader, August 12, 1996, Rosellen Brown, review of The Shadow Man, p. 26.
New York Review of Books, June 1, 1978, Wilfred Sheed, review of Final Payments, pp. 14-15; March 19, 1981, Robert Towers, review of The Company of Women, p. 7.
New York Times, March 20, 1985, Michiko Kakutani, review of Men and Angels, p. C21; April 9, 1987; October 9, 1989, Michiko Kakutani, review of The Other Side, p. C21; May 3, 1996, Michiko Kakutani, review of The Shadow Man, p. C29; March 5, 1998, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of Spending, p. B12.
New York Times Book Review, April 16, 1978, review of Final Payments, pp. 1, 32; February 15, 1981, Francine du Plessix Gray, review of The Company of Women, pp. 1, 24, 26; March 31, 1985, Margaret Drabble, review of Men and Angels, p. 1; April 19, 1987, Rachel Billington, review of Temporary Shelter, p. 8; October 15, 1989, Mardison Smartt Bell, review of The Other Side, p. 9; April 28, 1991, Wendy Martin, review of Good Boys and Dead Girls: And Other Essays, p. 9; August 8, 1993, Alison Lurie, review of The Rest of Life: Three Novellas, p. 1; April 28, 1996, Mary Gordon, "The Woman Who Walked into Doors," p. 7; May 26, 1996, William H. Pritchard, review of The Shadow Man, p. 5; March 8, 1998, Hilary Mantel, review of Spending, p. 5; January 16, 2000, Rosemary Dinnage, "Interiors: Mary Gordon Recalls Places She's Lived and the Ways They Shaped Her," p. 17.
Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, October-December 1996, Suzanne Lego, review of The Shadow Man, p. 36.
Ploughshares, fall, 1997, Don Lee, "About Mary Gordon," p. 218.
Publishers Weekly, April 8, 1996, review of The Shadow Man, p. 48; November 24, 1997, review of Spending, p. 50; March 9, 1998, Jennifer Schuessler, "Mary Gordon: Confessions of a Good Girl," p. 45; December 20, 1999, review of Seeing through Places, p. 73; March 27, 2000, review of Joan of Arc, p. 61; October 18, 2004, review of Pearl, p. 45; August 7, 2006, review of The Stories of Mary Gordon, p. 29.
Saturday Review, March 4, 1978, Doris Grumbach, review of Final Payments.
Sewanee Review, fall, 1978, Bruce Allen, review of Final Payments, pp. 337-344.
Time, April 24, 1978, Martha Duffy, review of Final Payments; February 16, 1981, R.Z. Sheppard, review of The Company of Women, p. 79; April 1, 1985, Paul Gray, review of Men and Angels, p. 77; May 27, 1996, John Skow, review of The Shadow Man, p. 82.
U.S. News & World Report, October 5, 1987, Alvin P. Sanoff, "Growing up Catholic and Creative," interview with author, p. 74.
Washington Post Book World, October 8, 1989, Kit Reed, review of The Other Side, p. 4; August 8, 1993, Lisa Zeidner, review of The Rest of Life, p. 5.
Women's Review of Books, July, 1996, Suzanne Ruta, review of The Shadow Man, p. 26; July, 1998, E.M. Broner, review of Spending, p. 25.
Barnard College Web site,http://www.barnard.edu/ (March 18, 2008), "Mary Gordon's New Novel, Pearl, Explores Self-Sacrifice, Martyrdom and Purity," and author profile.
BookPage,http://www.bookpage.com/ (March 18, 2008), interview with Gordon.
Mary Gordon Home Page,http://www.columbia.edu/~mg330/index.htm (March 18, 2008).
Salon.com,http://www.salon.com/ (March 18, 2008), Rachel Elson, review of Seeing through Places.