The Love of Impermanent Things
At midlife, Mary Rose O’Reilley writes, we are called to an “archaeology of memory”—turning over a potsherd here, a fragment there—to assemble something whole out of the messiness of experience. Excavating her own life, she traces the middle-class Irish American background that shaped her, with its mix of antic humor, terror, and mysticism, and finds meaning in the seemingly smallest, most transient encounters.
But O’Reilley’s purpose is less to recount these moments than it is to find the language for a different kind of story, in which the narrative of daily life opens to admit the holy and its corollary, the comic. Encouraging all of us to contemplate our own deep story, she calls hers a demo-life, in which the facts of personal history ground a narrative of consciousness and perception.
Earthy and luminous, unconventional and profoundly illuminating, The Love of Impermanent Things offers a threshold ecology for readers of all ages.
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Praise and Prizes
“A stunning follow-up to The Barn at the End of the World, and a lovingly crafted explanation of how Mary Rose O’Reilley has constructed a rich existence out of the small transient things that compose a life.”
“A spiritual memoir in the great tradition of spiritual memoirs by women rooted in the natural world. Reading Mary Rose O’Reilley’s book, I continually recalled Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams and Dakota by Kathleen Norris. Like those books, The Love of Impermanent Things is a book to read slowly and return to frequently.”
“Mary Rose O’Reilley lambastes the kind of Christians who have tamed and domesticated Jesus. . . . A Catholic turned Quaker, she rebels against tidy religious language. ‘I want every spiritual word to be new, minted that second.’ It certainly is lovely.”
“Mary Rose O’Reilley brings grace and a certain stringency to her every interaction with the world, and then delivers these small, sobering miracles onto the page with evocative prose.”
“Read this book and you will see shards of your own life come into focus through Mary Rose O’Reilley’s observations and confessions. She will help you see your own spirituality as a creative force that melds contemplation, action, prophetic outrage, and intuitive energy.”
“Mary Rose O’Reilley’s language and writing is humorous, enlightening, entertaining, and most of all, poignant. The Love of Impermanent Things is highly recommended reading, with much readers will relate to.”
“If memoir is the art of balancing intimacy and distance, Mary Rose O’Reilly has become a master.”