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Darling: A Spiritual Autobiography

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Overview


An award–winning writer delivers a major reckoning with religion, place, and sexuality in the aftermath of 9/11

Hailed in The Washington Post as “one of the most eloquent and probing public intellectuals in America,” Richard Rodriguez now considers religious violence worldwide, growing public atheism in the West, and his own mortality.

Rodriguez’s stylish new memoir—the first book in a decade from the Pulitzer Prize finalist—moves from ...

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Darling: A Spiritual Autobiography

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Overview


An award–winning writer delivers a major reckoning with religion, place, and sexuality in the aftermath of 9/11

Hailed in The Washington Post as “one of the most eloquent and probing public intellectuals in America,” Richard Rodriguez now considers religious violence worldwide, growing public atheism in the West, and his own mortality.

Rodriguez’s stylish new memoir—the first book in a decade from the Pulitzer Prize finalist—moves from Jerusalem to Silicon Valley, from Moses to Liberace, from Lance Armstrong to Mother Teresa. Rodriguez is a homosexual who writes with love of the religions of the desert that exclude him. He is a passionate, unorthodox Christian who is always mindful of his relationship to Judaism and Islam because of a shared belief in the God who revealed himself within an ecology of emptiness. And at the center of this book is a consideration of women—their importance to Rodriguez’s spiritual formation and their centrality to the future of the desert religions.

Only a mind as elastic and refined as Rodriguez’s could bind these threads together into this wonderfully complex tapestry.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Leslie Jamison
Darling is less the biography of any single idea—or an account of any single spiritual journey—and more the biography of many intersecting ideas: the relationship between gay rights and women's rights; the relationship between unforgiving landscapes and enduring faith, between cities and their scribes; between a homosexual man and his church. These ideas play out across a wide variety of historical theaters: the tangled legacy of Cesar Chavez, the lost heyday of city newspapers…the relentless glow of the Vegas strip and the endless traffic jams on California freeways, that Sigalert proof that too many folks showed up for the same dream.
Publishers Weekly
09/23/2013
Rodriguez (Hunger of Memory) wrote so many well-received essays on the American religious climate after 9/11, often in the context of his own struggle in faith, that he turned them into a book-length narrative about his Roman Catholic formation during the past decade. His pilgrimage begins with "the realization that the God I worship is... the same desert God the terrorists prayed ," meanders through ruminations on "small wounds" in a meditation that involves Lance Armstrong and Sheryl Crow, and comes to a slow finish with a smile from Christopher Hitchens and a brief tribute to Mother Teresa. Much like his writing, Rodriguez has been all over the place, traveling, thinking, observing. By the end of his book, he leaves the reader feeling like it all fits together, as if all his essays give "a sense—no, not a sense, a reason—why everyone matters." And more importantly, Rodriguez doesn't beat this discovery over the reader's head but unpacks it gently, over the course of years, in seemingly disjointed stories that explain one writer's journey to a God of many. Agent: Georges Borchardt, Georges Borchardt Literary Agency. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Rodriguez (editor, Pacific News Svc.) has long been something of a darling among readers for his memoirs Hunger of Memory and Days of Obligation, books that touch with unusual eloquence on his rich experience of his Mexican heritage, his sexuality, and his negotiations with politics and culture. This latest work, stemming from a piece he wrote for Harper's in 2008, is about his difficult confrontation with both God and the experience of emptiness; Lance Armstrong, Mother Teresa, and others make appearances as well. VERDICT Engaging and readable, this highly personal and candid discovery of the fullness of God in the silence of life's deserts may not offer anything new to spiritual seekers but will delight Rodriguez's fans.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-09-01
An acclaimed gay intellectual and journalist's musings on the state of and interrelationship among Christianity, Judaism and Islam in the post-9/11 digital age. In this collection of essays, Rodriguez stylishly delves into the meaning of life, death, sexuality and the printed word in the 21st century by examining his own Christian faith. The events of 9/11 awakened him to the fact that the God he worshipped as a Catholic was "the same desert God [to which] the terrorists prayed." He went to Jerusalem to experience the "ecology" of the place that gave rise to not only Christianity, but also Judaism and Islam. In the emptiness of the desert, the printed word came to have sacred status for all three religions. What partially distinguished them were notions of paradise. "For Jews," he writes, "Eden was pre-desert [and] [f]or Christians and Muslims, paradise…[was] post-desert." Rodriguez transforms his insights into lenses through which he views not only himself and the gay community to which he belongs, but also American culture. A friend's Easter Sunday death from AIDS in the Las Vegas desert becomes an occasion to ponder the campy neon paradise the city represents. A beloved female friend he refers to only as "Darling" becomes the focal point for witty meditations on how Rodriguez's own place as a homosexual in both the church and society depends on female empowerment, or lack thereof. The death of newspapers becomes a way for the author to reflect on the rise of technology. In this new "enlarging, unstable [and] ethereal" world, the former weightiness of words has been replaced by a disturbing relativism. Like newspapers, sacred texts such as the Bible, Torah and Quran become little more than objects stripped of meaning. With compassion and profundity of vision, Rodriguez offers a compelling view of modern spirituality that is as multifaceted as it is provocative.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670025305
  • Publisher: Viking Adult
  • Publication date: 10/3/2013
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 485,232
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Richard Rodriguez is the author of Hunger of Memory, Brown, and Days of Obligation. He is a fellow of New America Media. He was a long-time contributor to PBS and continues to write for Harper's Magazine and the Los Angeles Times. He lives in San Francisco.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Beautifully Written & Insightful Spiritual Memoir Rodriguez

    Beautifully Written & Insightful Spiritual Memoir

    Rodriguez has proven himself, once again, as one of America’s most insightful essayist on religion, spirituality, and the human existence. His poetic prose is remarkably engaging, gliding imperceptibly from philosophy to anecdote. Similarly, his vision is at once moving and provocative, and the content strongly resonates with the modern religious climate and paradoxes of faith. Darling serves as further evidence that Rodriguez is a master at his craft and has an abundance to offer in the spiritual realm as well. 

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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