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Motherhouse: A Novel by Jeanine Hathaway

Drawn by her devout faith, young Jeanine enters the Dominican order of nuns to prepare for a life of service and self-denial, but the death of her beloved brother and her father's abandonment of his family throw her life into turmoil, in a autobiographical novel. A first novel.

Hyperion | Hardcover: 9781562829896 | $22.95 | February 1993



Motherhouse is a brilliant, bittersweet account of the faith and disillusion, hope and despair, and love and heartbreak that are so often part of the journey toward God within the religious life. Writing with all of the candor of autobiography but with the economy and poetry of fiction, Jeanine Hathaway has created a heroine who earns first our sympathy, then our respect, and finally our friendship.” —Ron Hansen

“Hathaway...introduces us to a Catholicism never yet described in American writing: mystic, erotic, existential, a vanishing order of experience. Jeanine Hathaway is a very new exciting voice. This is a witty book about a curious passion: for God, the divine and mystical experience.” —Kate Millett

“This is a sad, funny, impassioned and wonderful tale about the struggle between flesh and spirit, temperament and will; it is about daily existence—how to do it—and all forms of love the human heart is capable of, from love of God to friendship; and it is as universal as darkness and light.” —Andre Dubus


A few excerpts:

from Publishers Weekly/November 30, 1992: “Grounded firmly in concrete details but unequivocally spiritual, this is a lyrical, inspiring chronicle.”

from Newsday, February 7, 1993 by Robert S. Boynton: “In its very understatedness, ‘Motherhouse ‘ is a corrective for those spiritual overachievers who pursue their faith with self-righteous zeal. As Jeanine points out, ‘Even God took time out from being God to become human.’”

from Entertainment Weekly, March 1, 1993 by Margot Mifflin: “Writing with a controlled fury, Jeanine Hathaway stretches the possibilities of language while she tests the limits of Catholicism. A-“

from L.A. Times, March 14, 1993 by Michael Harris: “Her writing is tough, elliptical, almost too compressed; it takes poetry’s leaps, a personality’s risks. ‘Maybe this is how nuns will be in the future,’ Kristin says. ‘Stubborn, a little self-indulgent, outspoken’—and in her case, with a voice all her own.”