Women's Review of Books
Things Seen and Unseen: A Year Lived in Faithby Nora Gallagher
It started with an occasional Sunday, a "tourist's" visit to a local church. Eventually Nora Gallagher entered into a yearlong journey to/i>/b>
"Gracefully written and moving ... Things Seen and Unseen starts with Nora Gallagher entering the labyrinth of her life ... and ultimately it leads to the center of her being."--The Boston Globe
It started with an occasional Sunday, a "tourist's" visit to a local church. Eventually Nora Gallagher entered into a yearlong journey to discover her faith and a relationship with God, using the Christian calendar as her compass.
Whether writing about her brother's battle against cancer, talking to homeless men about the World Series, or questioning the afterlife ("One world at a time"), Gallagher draws us into a world of journeys and mysteries, yet grounded in a gritty reality. She braids together the symbols of the
Christian calendar, the events of a year in one church, and her own spiritual journey, each strand combed out with harrowing intimacy. Thought provoking and profoundly perceptive, Things Seen and Unseen is a remarkable demonstration that "the road to the sacred is paved with the ordinary."
"Like Kathleen Norris in Amazing Grace, Gallagher is renewing the language of ultimate concerns."--San Francisco Chronicle
"The deep serenity that suffuses Gallagher's work, the lyrical cadences in which she writes, do not blunt the sharp edges of what she discovered in her quest for meaning."--Los Angeles Times
Women's Review of Books
Los Angeles Times
The Women's Review of Books
- Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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Nora Gallagher lives in Santa Barbara, California.
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Born in New Mexico, Nora Gallagher was the daughter to Julie Walcott Gallagher and David Gallagher. Her career originally started as a reporter in San Francisco, where she was hired by the highly acclaimed TIME Magazine. Since then, her career has transitioned into being a professional journalist. Her writings have appeared in a number of highly recognized publications including The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times Magazine are just a few to mention. She is also the author of a spiritual memoir I have recently read entitled Things Seen and Unseen, A Year Lived in Faith. In addition to her memoir Things Seen and Unseen, A Year Lived in Faith she has also published a number of different memoirs including Practicing Resurrection: A Memoir of Work, Doubt, Discernment, and Moments of Grace, also Changing Light, and finally The Sacred Meal. The making of her spiritual memoir, Things Seen, and Unseen, A Year Lived in Faith, came about following some difficult times in her life. Gallagher was rejected by nearly every publisher in New York for a book proposal, which was about families living in Prague. Shortly thereafter, her agent at the time then quickly fired her. Gallagher then decided to take a life-changing trip to Santa Barbara, California where she rediscovered Trinity Episcopal Church. That trip, along with some notes she had stashed away that dealt with her spiritual life at the time period then turned into her spiritual memoir Things Seen and Unseen, A Year Lived in Faith which was published by Knopf in 1998. I enjoyed reading Nora Gallagher's spiritual memoir, Things Seen and Unseen, A Year Lived in Faith because I could personally relate to the exploration of her own doubts and struggles within her own faith. I too in my life had a struggle when it came to my own spirituality and faith. In my opinion, my own personal doubts surrounding my faith and the church are certainly comparable to Gallagher's, which made for an interesting read. In Gallagher's book Things Seen and Unseen, A Year Lived in Faith, she shares her thoughts, feelings, and experiences during a yearlong spiritual journey at Trinity Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara, California. Her memoir begins on a typical Sunday where Gallagher visits a local church Trinity Episcopal in the late 1980's. Little does she know, but that one visit to Trinity Episcopal Church ends up turning into yearlong journey in search of her own faith and to discover a relationship in which she has with God. Over the span of the year she spends at Trinity Episcopal, Gallagher uses the Christian calendar as a guide, which directs her into a religious world full of 'things seen and unseen'. During this year of faith, she serves the church and religious community in vestry, where she was given the position of a temporal and spiritual leader of the congregation at Trinity Episcopal Church. Throughout her spiritual memoir, Gallagher's describes a number of different challenges that she faces while attending the church but also conflicts that surround Trinity Episcopal Church itself. In the midst of Gallagher trying to find her faith and spirituality as well as trying to develop and relationship with God, Gallagher learns of many peoples struggles within the church as well as facing her own struggles at the time. She converses with a friend in church who is dying of AIDS, and shares her grief as she also explains how her brother is dying of
this book is so beautifully written it is to be savored over time, like an exceptional wine. it moved me deeply, delighted me in a literature sense, and was always a compelling joy to come home to. this woman is a stellar writer; surely she could speak of the phone book and be just as mesmerising, but when the topic is faith, it is indeed a rare spiritual feast. brava to a sublime author and a worthy topic. I recommend it not just as a library piece, but also as a special gift for any friend with a soul......