Mary Gordon

Works of fiction that address matters of heart and soul.

In her teaching at Barnard College and in her works of fiction, memoir, and literary criticism Mary Gordon probes questions of self, faith, love and femininity in the modern world. Her most recent novel, The Love of My Youth, finds former lovers meeting abroad for the first time in more than thirty years. Writing in The Barnes & Noble Review, Heller McAlpin praises Gordon’s power to “probe questions about serendipity in life and love, and whether there is such a thing as a fated soulmate.” This week, she picks three novels that illuminate how hard it is to love someone well, even ourselves.

Books by Mary Gordon


The Good Soldier

By Ford Maddox Ford

“Because it reminds us of the difficulty of knowing anything or anyone properly, the mysteries of sex, the conflict between an ideal of virtue and an actual living body.”


The Diary of a Country Priest

By Georges Bernanos

“If for nothing else, for the end, “The great temptation: how easy it is to hate onself.” And, “What does it matter, grace is everywhere?” This is a love story in the purest sense.”


Pale Horse, Pale Rider

By Katherine Anne Porter

“One story in a collection, all wonderful, but this one is sublime. In a few pages it deals with life and death, war, romantic love, women and work…and makeup!”

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