Wayfaring Between Two Infinities
The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage
by Paul Elie
New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003
(555 pages; $27.00, hardcover)
reviewed by Addison H. Hart
The Life You Save May Be Your Own, named after a short story by Flannery O’Connor, is a rare, possibly unique, work of biography. Paul Elie, an editor with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, has produced an account of the lives of four post-World War II American Catholic writers. It is the combination of being Catholic and postwar American that makes the small literary “school” he explores distinctive, and that also makes Elie’s exercise in collective biography an engrossing piece of historical insight.
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Addison H. Hart is retired from active ministry as parish priest and university chaplain. He is the author of Knowing Darkness: On Skepticism, Melancholy, Friendship, and God and The Yoke of Jesus: A School for the Soul in Solitude (both from Eerdmans). His forthcoming book is a study of the Sermon on the Mount. He lives and writes in Norheimsund, Norway.
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