Nora Gallagher's best-selling memoir, Things Seen and Unseen: A Year Lived in Faith, received outstanding reviews. Her essays, book reviews, and journalism have appeared in many publications, including the New York Times Magazine, theWashington Post, DoubleTake, Time, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Village Voice, and Mother Jones. She is also the editor of the award-winning Patagonia: Notes from the Field, a collection of literary essays on the outdoors. She and her husband live in Santa Barbara, California.
When Gallagher's beloved older brother died of cancer, grief struck intensely: "I would be watering the garden or opening an envelope and Kit's death would spring on me completely new and jolting, as if I'd been hit hard from behind with no warning, and I then would fold up, like a fan." Her work at Trinity Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara, which she portrayed so passionately in her 1998 memoir, Things Seen and Unseen, now seemed hollow: "I felt an urgency to reclaim the holy in my life, to find a new way to spend myself." Beginning in 1995 where the earlier book left off, Gallagher describes the three-year process she went through to discern whether to become a priest. While involved in making this decision, she and other church leaders were also wrestling with questions that could split the parish: should their gay rector divulge his sexual orientation? Should he perform same-sex weddings? Meanwhile, Gallagher's husband was repeatedly expressing distaste for her heavy involvement at church. In spite of continued affirmation from church friends and diocesan officials, Gallagher began to wonder if her true calling was to writing, despite her persistent attraction to priesthood. Skillfully interweaving multiple themes, Gallagher maintains suspense right up to the epilogue, where various "resurrections" are revealed. With a poet's ear for language and a novelist's eye for essential detail, Gallagher offers a compelling story of her journey toward "a wholeness bought at the cost of suffering." (Mar. 25) Forecast: Gallagher's first book made the L.A. Times bestseller list and was blurbed by luminaries such as Marcus Borg and Annie Dillard. This has the potential to be a word-of-mouth favorite and a strong backlist title in the growing field of the spiritual memoir. Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Now an Episcopal priest, Gallagher continues her spiritual memoir, begun in Things Seen and Unseen, where she described the disarray of contemporary life in the context of the church's calendar. Gallagher depicts her increasing stress as she rushes to and from meetings, devotes her energy to her ailing brother, Kit, and loses her sense of self. When Kit dies she realizes she has lost not only her brother but also her spirituality, and she takes steps to reclaim the "holy" in her life. As a spiritual seeker, she begins walking the path to the Episcopal priesthood. Her search is explored in the trials of marriage, writing, and discerning the signs of the call to a deeper purpose. Gallagher takes the reader through her first year's ministry study program and her encounters with St. Columbia's rector, Al Smith. The epilog fills in the gaps of this impressionistic book, bringing the reader up-to-date in Gallagher's life as a priest. For libraries serving seminary students and those who enjoyed her previous memoir.-L. Kriz, West Des Moines P.L. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
"Honest and human and surprisingly humorous in its clarity of
vision." --The Washington Post Book Review "Gallagher is a
thoughtful and talented writer who succeeds in making questions of
belief, politics and tradition part of a wholly personal story that
will engage open-minded readers of all faiths."--The San
Francisco Chronicle "Nora Gallagher is able to bring words to the
ineffable, and to make audible the language of prayer, especially
the prayer that emanates from everyday life--from marriage and
friendship, from work and family. A gorgeous, deeply honest, wise
book." --Sue Halpern, author of Four Wings and a
"With a poet's ear for language and a novelist's eye for essential detail, Gallagher offers a compelling story of her journey." --Publishers Weekly