The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O’Connor

A review of the last book I read of the year, posted on the last day of the year. How appropriate!

Published: 1961

Genre: literary fiction

Length: 460 pages

Setting: New England, 1960s

Interest: It was a Pulitzer Prize winner and an O author – the last I needed for my alphabet challenge

Summary: Father Hugh Kennedy is the pastor of St. Paul’s parish, a bit of a dead-end, knocked-together parish. He looked to be an up-and-comer in the Catholic Church until his father died and he started drinking. After being sent away for several years to recover, he’s now back in his home town, but not his home parish. His old friend, John Carmody, had that parish. One day, John’s father, Charlie, calls up Father Hugh, which usually means he wants something. Father Hugh can’t figure out what he wants, though, even after months of visiting. It’s only when Charlie has a heart attack that Hugh realized he was there for reassurance.

Final thoughts: Eh. This is literary fiction at it’s finest – let’s understand the hearts of men and figure out what makes them do what they do. Also, it explored whether or not people could really change. Charlie knew he was a curmudgeon, but couldn’t figure out how to change. Father Hugh, on the other hand, took steps to change when his isolation was pointed out to him. Every once in a while I’m impressed by literary fiction, but usually I just want something to happen already. It wasn’t terrible, but I did treat myself to The Woman Who Rides Like a Man in the middle of this book.

Title comes from: A phrase in the book, repeated twice, that described the outlook of two of the characters

Awards won: Pulitzer Prize in 1962

Reading challenges fulfilled: 94/100 in my Finally to 100 Challenge, and O in my author Alphabet Challenge (actually completing the challenge!), and 17/12 in my Award Winning Challenge (8 Pulitzer Prize winners)

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!


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