The story of an ecstatic spiritual moment—and the search to experience it again
When she was twenty-seven years old, writer Doris Grumbach had an epiphany. It was as if God were right there beside her, and she had a “feeling of peace so intense that it seemed to expand into ineffable joy.” After this fleeting moment, Grumbach became determined to recapture what she had felt. The Presence of Absence is the story of her fifty-year search.
Grumbach is an open-minded and skilled seeker, and she writes candidly of the people she has met along the way. She details how she lost her path after decades of going to her Protestant church and writes of her turn to personal spirituality. In her quest to find God, she encounters a multitude of philosophies and gives all of them their due. She reads the works of Thomas Merton and Simone Weil, seeks the advice of her seminary-attending daughter, and studies the Psalms. Despite the setbacks of disease, injury, and ego, Grumbach perseveres in her pursuit of beauty and proof in the absence.
“[A] provocative account of a spiritual journey.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Grumbach’s graceful and elegant prose records the agonies and the joys of her search for God’s presence.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
Doris Grumbach, author of many novels and memoirs including Fifty Days of Solitude, Life in a Day, The Ladies, and Chamber Music, has been literary editor of the New Republic, a nonfiction columnist for the New York Times Book Review, a book reviewer for National Public Radio, and a bookseller in Washington, DC, and Maine. She lives in Philadelphia.