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Mahoney, Rosemary 1961–

Mahoney, Rosemary 1961–

PERSONAL: Born January 28, 1961, in Boston, MA; daughter of John Peter (a hematologist) and Nona (a journalist and teacher; maiden name, Rohan) Mahoney. Education: Harvard University, B.A., 1983; Johns Hopkins University, M.A., 1985.

ADDRESSES: HomeNew York, NY. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Little, Brown and Company, 1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.

CAREER: Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, instructor in writing, 1984–86; Hangzhou University, Hangzhou, China, instructor in writing, 1987–88; writer.

AWARDS, HONORS: Transatlantic Review Award, Henfield Foundation, 1985, for fiction writing; New York Times notable book citation, 1990, for The Early Arrival of Dreams, 1993, for Whoredom in Kimmage: The World of Irish Women; Whiting Writing Award, 1994; Charles E. Horman Prize for Fiction Writing; National Endowment for the Arts grant, 2005.

WRITINGS:

NONFICTION

The Early Arrival of Dreams: A Year in China, Fawcett Columbine (New York, NY), 1990.

Whoredom in Kimmage: Irish Women Coming of Age, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1993.

A Likely Story: One Summer with Lillian Hellman, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1998.

The Singular Pilgrim: Travels on Sacred Ground, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2003.

Author of introduction, Twice-Told Tales, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Modern Library (New York, NY), 2001, and Milan Sklenar: Photographs, Behaviour Publishing, 2000.

SIDELIGHTS: The Early Arrival of Dreams: A Year in China is Rosemary Mahoney's memoir of her experiences in China as an instructor of English at Hangzhou University. The time that Mahoney spent at this provincial school during 1987 and 1988 provided her with many social and professional experiences that exemplified the circumstances and attitudes that shaped the people of twentieth-century China. Orville Schell noted in the New York Times Book Review that with "her ability to see, feel and describe in simple but evocative prose," Mahoney captures the emotion, humor, and struggle of her friends and students inside the Communist state. "What gives her book such political acuity," said Schell, "is her sensitivity to the psychological suffocation experienced by Chinese intellectuals." Mahoney's account provides a firsthand look at the sentiments of frustration with the Communist regime that were growing on campuses across China prior to the military crackdown on the prodemocracy movement, a clash that culminated in the massacre of student protestors at Tiananmen Square in 1989. Dan Southerland stated in the Washington Postthat Mahoney's book "complement[s] and probably surpass[es] in depth many of the books written about the massacre and its aftermath."

In Mahoney's second book, Whoredom in Kimmage: Irish Women Coming of Age, she examines the changing role of women in Irish society. Interviewing many men and women, she provides a portrait of their attitudes and the ways in which they saw themselves. Several reviewers commented on the author's keen ear for Irish speech, which helps to make this "a delightful book," according to Phoebe-Lou Adams in an Atlantic review. Time contributor John Elson described Whoredom in Kimmage as a "quirky, observant chronicle" that relates its story "in vivid detail."

In A Likely Story: One Summer with Lillian Hellman Mahoney recalls a summer she spent working as a maid for renowned author Lillian Hellman, who owned a home on the island of Martha's Vineyard. As an aspiring writer at the time, Mahoney had hoped for some sort of rapport with Hellmann, but she was shocked to find that her employer was quite self-absorbed and brusque. Her memoir is related "in vivid images and exquisite dialog," wrote Rebecca Martin in Library Journal. A Publishers Weekly writer noted that the story is "a compelling chronicle not only of an intergenerational combat of will and manners," but also of frustrations and confusions common to late adolescence.

In The Singular Pilgrim: Travels on Sacred Ground Mahoney relates her journeys to six shrines of religious significance. Five of them are associated with the Roman Catholic faith; the sixth, the Varanasi on the Ganges River, is one of the holiest sites in the world for Hindus. A lapsed Catholic, Mahoney's motivation in working on her book was primarily to find out what drives people to make journeys of faith. A writer for Kirkus Reviews judged her to be successful in that aim, calling this book "an affecting visit to the ancient, humbling act of pilgrimage." Reviewing the book for Spirituality & Health, Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat noted: "On her quest, Mahoney is bowled over by grace when she least expects it." They found that The Singular Pilgrim is "filled with thought-provoking insights into the human spirit and the unusual rigors of physical and psychological journeys."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Mahoney, Rosemary, The Early Arrival of Dreams: A Year in China, Fawcett Columbine (New York, NY), 1990.

Mahoney, Rosemary, A Likely Story: One Summer with Lillian Hellman, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1998.

Mahoney, Rosemary, The Singular Pilgrim: Travels on Sacred Ground, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2003.

PERIODICALS

America, May 26, 2003, Rachelle Linner, review of The Singular Pilgrim: Travels on Sacred Ground, p. 29.

Atlantic, September, 1993, Phoebe-Lou Adams, review of Whoredom in Kimmage: Irish Women Coming of Age, p. 114.

Belles Lettres, spring, 1994, Elizabeth Oness, review of Whoredom in Kimmage, p. 57.

Booklist, November 1, 1998, Tony Hyde, review of A Likely Story: One Summer with Lillian Hellman, p. 465; March 15, 2003, June Sawyers, review of The Singular Pilgrimage, p. 1257.

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2003, review of The Singular Pilgrim, p. 129.

Library Journal, November 1, 1998, Rebecca Martin, review of A Likely Story, p. 81; March 15, 2003, Joyce Smothers, review of The Singular Pilgrim, p. 105.

New York Times Book Review, October 28, 1990, Orville Schell, review of The Early Arrival of Dreams, p. 15; May 4, 2003, Lucy Kaylin, review of The Singular Pilgrim, p. 7.

People, November 15, 1993, Jean Reynolds, review of Whoredom in Kimmage, p. 33.

Publishers Weekly, September 14, 1998, review of A Likely Story, p. 54; March 3, 2003, review of The Singular Pilgrim, p. 72.

Time, August 30, 1993, John Elson, review of Whoredom in Kimmage, p. 64.

Washington Post, November 13, 1990, Dan Southerland, review of The Early Arrival of Dreams; July 17, 2003, Charlotte Allen, review of The Singular Pilgrim, p. C3.

ONLINE

Houghton Mifflin Web site, http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/ (February 7, 2006), interview with Rosemary Mahoney.

Spirituality & Health, http://www.spiritualityhealth.com/ (February 6, 2006), Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, review of The Singular Pilgrim.

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