Magazine May 4, 2020, Issue

Great American Fiction and the Catholic Literary Imagination

(Jeenah Moon/Reuters)
Longing for an Absent God: Faith and Doubt in Great American Fiction, by Nick Ripatrazone (Fortress Press, 300 pp., $27.99)

What it might mean to speak of Catholic literature is a bit of a thorny question, or, rather, there are so many ways to pose the question that it might incline one to despair of answering. Nick Ripatrazone, a poet and fiction writer in his own right, goes about the task, in Longing for an Absent God, in the only manageable way. He wades right in and, in turning from one author to another, sees what churns up. The result is not so much a critical study as a literary journalist’s tour of the margins of American Catholicism where they

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This article appears as “The Ghost in the House of American Fiction” in the May 4, 2020, print edition of National Review.

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