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Starred Review. In this penetrating theological memoir, Norris (The Cloister Walk) details her relationship with acedia, a slothful, soul-weary indifference long recognized by monastics. Norris is careful to distinguish acedia from its cousin, depression, noting that acedia is a failure of the will and can be dispelled by embracing faith and life, whereas depression is not a choice and often requires medical treatment. This is tricky ground, but Norris treads gingerly, reserving her acerbic crankiness for a section where she convincingly argues that despite Americans' apparently unslothful lives, acedia is the undiagnosed neurasthenia of our busy age. Much of the book is taken up with Norris's account of her complicated but successful marriage, which ended with her husband's death in 2003. The energy poured into this marriage, Norris argues, was as much a defiant strike against acedia as her spiritual discipline of praying the Psalms. Filled with gorgeous prose, generous quotations from Christian thinkers across the centuries and fascinating etymological detours, this discomfiting book provides not just spiritual hope but a much-needed kick in the rear. (Sept. 16) ""
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*Starred Review* The lacuna in Norris’ published life, following the phenomenal impact of The Cloister Walk (1996) and Amazing Grace (1998), was due, she now reveals, to the death of her husband, and to acedia, a profound form of apathy. Akin to depression, acedia, or the “noonday demon,” was counted among the original “eight bad thoughts,” but the term fell out of use. Norris believes it’s time to reclaim it. Delving, as she loves to do, into early Christian texts, and illuminating the wisdom of the monastic tradition, Norris, a superb storyteller, careful synthesizer, and brilliant interpreter, presents the “peculiar history” of acedia and chronicles her own battles with this particular “soul-sickness.” Her personal stories are truly moving and instructive, but the most arresting and resonant aspect of this engrossing extrapolation is Norris’ theory of social acedia as the explanation of our inaction in the face of so much violence and injustice. We abhor bloodshed, prejudice, and greed yet feel powerless to stop them. Norris’ fascinating inquiry casts our predicament in a new light and maps a course out of this “enervating despair.” Reading this strongly argued, paradigm-altering work may be the first strike against the demon it portrays. --Donna SeamanSee all Editorial Reviews
I love this author. I love the way her mind works and she translates spirituality into everyday life. And I was SO glad to find a book by THIS author that named my affliction. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Missymaam
Kathleen Norris, renowned poet, writes a combination instructional book and memoir. In it she talks about acedia, a state of ‘being unable to care’, explaining its historical... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Sandra Brazier
Somewhat slow reading but insightful. It portrays an approach to emotional healing not usually dealt with in our everyday situations.Published 3 months ago by Duane Sj
It's a valuable subject to dig into and she provides one of the better distinctions between depression vs acedia I've read. Unfortunately, Ms. Norris needed a better editor. Read morePublished 4 months ago by GLM
Wonderful treatment of a complex subject that affects so many.Published 4 months ago by Kindle Customer
This book addresses a topic that is all but forgotten yet is an obvious epidemic in the world today. Highly recommend.Published 8 months ago by Skinner
Part memoir, part theological rumination, Acedia & Me is at once poignant and perceptive in its analysis of the daily struggles and victories borne by Kathleen Norris and her... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Alice F Cooper