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Ordinary Time: Cycles in Marriage, Faith, and Renewal Paperback – August 30, 1994

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 004-6442070577 ISBN-10: 0807070572 Edition: Reprint

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The "uneasy and unrelenting state of religious faith" which, according to Mairs, has marked the "whole of my conscious life," is explored with elan in this spiritual autobiography that generates sparks about many issues. As a Catholic feminist (an oxymoron, she observes), the author of Plaintext contemplates the thorny relationships she has had with the Church and with her family (at one time in her marriage, both partners were adulterous). She examines the effects of her multiple sclerosis and of her husband's cancer, conditions which contributed to their reconciliation and personal growth. In spirited essays that trace her journey from her Congregationalist childhood to her current individualistic Catholicism, she poses questions about marriage, parenthood and the meaning of suffering that will resonate with many contemporary lives. Her voice is challenging and her thrust at times radical, but Mairs maintains a disarming, self-deprecating wit and unflinching effort to remain true in this charting of the "terrain of a conscientious life."
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This is the remarkable story of a woman who faces the vicissitudes of life with honesty, courage, and, ultimately, commitment. Hers is no easy or ideal life: her own adultery, her husband's adultery, his cancer, her multiple sclerosis, and her spiritual struggles, including bouts with clinical depression, culminate in an affirmation of marriage, life, and love that inspires Mairs to a stronger commitment. She struggles with self-image, with images of God, and with fears of loss and pain. Poignantly, she learns that she can love her husband "more often than not, in a way that reflects the love of God," a sentiment that is tested when he is unfaithful. Mairs ( Carnal Acts , LJ 10/1/90) also finds feminism, Roman Catholicism, and sacrament in ways that inspire. Recommended for public and seminary libraries.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; Reprint edition (August 30, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807070572
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807070574
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #442,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

NANCY MAIRS

Nancy Mairs, though born by accident of war in Long Beach, California, grew up north of Boston. In 1964, she received the A.B. cum laude from Wheaton College (Norton, Massachusetts), which made her a Doctor of Humane Letters thirty years later. She earned the M.F.A. in creative writing (poetry) in 1975 and the Ph.D. in English literature (with a minor in English education) in 1984 from the University of Arizona. She has taught writing and literature at Salpointe Catholic High School, the University of Arizona, and the University of California at Los Angeles.

A poet and an essayist, she was awarded the 1984 Western States Book Award in poetry for In All the Rooms of the Yellow House (Confluence Press, 1984) and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1991. The Arizona Humanities Council gave her their 2008 Literary Treasure Award. Her first work of nonfiction, a collection of essays entitled Plaintext: Deciphering a Woman's Life, was published by the University of Arizona Press in 1986. Since then, she has written a memoir, Remembering the Bone House, a spiritual autobiography, Ordinary Time: Cycles in Marriage, Faith, and Renewal, and three more books of essays, Carnal Acts, Voice Lessons: On Becoming a (Woman) Writer, Waist-High in the World: A Life Among the Nondisabled. These are available from Beacon Press, as are her most recent books, A Troubled Guest: Life and Death Stories, which was supported by a fellowship from the Project on Death in America of the Soros Foundation's Open Society Institute, and A Dynamic God.

She and her husband, George, a retired high-school English teacher, continue to live in Tucson, though they make public appearances throughout the country. A Research Associate and SIROW Scholar with the Southwest Institute for Research on Women, she has also served on the boards of the Arizona Center for Disability Law, Kore Press, the Coalition of Arizonans To Abolish the Death Penalty, and ARTability.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Dale A. Favier on September 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
~
First of all, Mairs is an extraordinary prose stylist. "Each life must hold one, I think: one pain that overarches and obscures all others, one haunting irreversible fault for which one can never atone." There is no other living prose writer who regularly makes me put the book down, take several deep breaths, and then gingerly pick it up again to go back and find out what hit me. This is, I suppose, what the word "breathtaking" originally meant.
Second of all, Mairs wriggles between categories with perverse delight: I'm not surprised that some reviewers here express bewilderment. She's never quite where you expect her to be. Catholic activists don't write explicitly about their own sex lives. Inspirational writers don't admit to screwing up on their child-rearing. Feminists don't point out that there was no possible way male authorities could have avoided stifling their voices while they (the feminists) were in a dysfunctional relationship with God. If you're looking for a book to pet you and sooth you and reassure you that everything you already think is exactly right, you've come to the wrong shop.
But third -- most surprising of all, given all this -- Mairs is humane, inclusive, tender, and loving. This book is about adultery. In Mair's hands, adultery becomes the paradigm for the human relationship with God: we have all been unfaithful, and we have all felt betrayed. Okay. Then what comes next? What do we do with these betrayals? How do we look at them steadily, and turn them into a deeper love and a more meaningful faith?
Painfully, that's how.
I love this book. I don't know if you will. Probably not, unless you're one of those people who has to touch paintings to feel the stipple, shut yourself in closets to see what the dark looks like, and touch ice cubes with your tongue.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kim Boykin on September 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
Autobiographical reflections of a convert to Catholicism, about her committed struggles with marriage and with faith. ("A Catholic feminist? Dear God, couldn't I please be something else?") What I love about this and all of Nancy Mairs's books is her uncompromising honesty about the difficulties of living a human life, and the way she shows that joy and gratitude and humor can be found right in the midst of the big mess we're in. I'm on my third or fourth copy of this book because I keep giving it away. This and "Waist-High in the World" are my favorites by Mairs.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Len Kreidermacher on March 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a very important and useful book for me. Nancy writes essays about her life from a spiritual perspective. She includes everything that is important in her life: conversion, prayer, sickness, family life, finances, the poor in spirit and health.
I was raised as a Catholic and spent 35 years away so I can relate to Nancy's comments about the difference between the church hierarchy and the people. They each have different needs and actions. I prefer the people and have learned to diminish my strong feelings of criticism of the church hierarchy so that it doesn't keep me from being one of the church people and taking care of my spiritual needs.
This is one of the most important books that I have read.
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