Letters to the Editor

No Limits on McDermott

Dear Editor: Mike Mastromatteo’s appreciation of Alice McDermott (Aug. 18) is right on the mark. If the author (or any artist) resents being pigeon-holed as Catholic, Irish, or whatever – remember the awful phrase “lady novelist”? – it is not so much that she denies her roots as that she rightly deplores the condescension that would limit the significance of her work.

McDermott’s genius is precisely that she draws on the context of her roots to arrive at insights that inform our humanity.  That she does so successfully from a Catholic perspective may make her attractive to believers, but even more so, she is able to evangelize the larger public, even including non-believers and lapsed believers. More “catholic” than that you cannot get.

EDWARD R. DORNEY

Park Slope

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