Mary Gordon’s extraordinary novel about a young Catholic woman who pursues father figures—only to wrestle to break free of them
Felicitas Maria Taylor was brought up in a cocoon, raised by five devoutly religious women. The death of her father while she was still a baby has caused her to seek out the extreme in men, and that is what she finds in Father Cyprian, a priest whom Felicitas visits during summers in upstate New York. The charismatic Cyprian fosters the young girl’s gifts and intelligence, but, no lover of worldly things, he demands a severe loyalty.
When Felicitas comes of age and begins her studies at Columbia, everything seems poised to change. At the university, she falls under the spell of another domineering man—a professor surrounded by young activist acolytes—and this time, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
The Company of Women is a story of dangerous attachments and challenged faith—and of finding an endurable future.