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CCW Book Discussion: Oregon Confetti by Lee Oser

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Marist Annex

The Catholic University of America

Washington, DC 20064

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Join the Contemporary Catholic Writers Reading Group for happy hour and discussion of

Oregon Confetti by Lee Oser

Portland art dealer Devin Adams is content earning a semi-honest living until one night his friend John Sun comes knocking at the door, bearing a mysterious baby. Rumored to be the greatest painter of his generation, Sun lives in a crumbling warehouse under the Fremont Bridge. Despite Devin’s strong natural preference for easy profits and easy women, the baby moves him in his wayward soul to join Sun on an absurd quest—a life-or-death adventure that stretches from the temples of junk to the corridors of power, from the shadowy streets of gangland to the wide, wide deserts of lust.


If Lee Oser intended to give readers a kind of Catholic Portlandia he succeeded. In this fast-paced, adventure-packed narrative about a Portland art dealer, a colorful cast of characters—from Jesuit priests to Chinese gang members—pursue the meaning of art and love, while the mysterious movement of grace directs their exploits to a satisfying conclusion. The dream of the Catholic novel is alive in Lee Oser’s Oregon Confetti.

–Jeffrey O. Nelson, Intercollegiate Studies Institute

Oregon Confetti is a fantastic mash-up of Portland vogue, crime fiction, contemporary art, and Christian myth. It’s a post-secular fable for people who don’t want to be cynics any longer. In witty, energetic prose, Oser takes on easy American cultural pieties and pushes his characters (despite themselves) to believe in something ultimate that can’t be ironized out of existence.

–R. Clifton Spargo, author of Beautiful Fools: The Last Affair of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald

Author Bio: Novelist Lee Oser was born in New York City in 1958, of Irish and Jewish extraction. He grew up on Long Island and, after working in his father’s publishing firm, moved to Portland, Oregon in 1978, where he played bass in a series of rock bands including The Riflebirds, one of Portland’s best-known groups during the New Wave period. He graduated from Reed College in 1988 and went on to do graduate work in English at Yale University, which awarded him the doctorate in 1995. Around this time he returned for good to the Catholic faith. He taught at Yale and Connecticut College before landing at Holy Cross in 1998, becoming full professor in 2010. Oser has published three influential books of literary criticism and a well-received novel, The Oracles Fell Silent, also through Wiseblood Books. Professionally, he is known for his efforts on behalf of the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers (ALSCW), a literature-advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.

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FAQs

Q: What is the Contemporary Catholic Writers Group?

A: CCW is a reading series started by Catholic University English graduate students in 2015. Learn more about us on our English department webpage and listen to author talks and interviews here. All CCW events are free and open to everyone.

Q: How do you choose which books to read?

A: Everyone who participates in a book discussion during a given semester is invited to suggest titles for the next semester's reading list and to vote on the final selections. We often take titles from lists compiled by leading Catholic literary artists and editors (here and here, for example) and the Catholic Literary Imagination conference series (here and here), but we are always open to new ideas from a variety of people and sources.

Q: Will the author be present at this book discussion?

A: No, but we will update the event page if there's ever a surprise visit.

Q: Why do I need to register?

A: RSVPs help us ensure there will be enough space, food, and drink for everyone. We appreciate the heads up!

Q: Should I bring anything for happy hour?

A: Feel free to bring a beverage or snack to share, but we'll be just as happy if you just bring yourself.

Q: What if I haven't finished the book before the meeting?

A: Join us anyway! We enjoy serious, in-depth discussions focused on major themes, characters, and the nuts and bolts of literary craft, but we're not sticklers. Regardless of how far you are in the book, you're welcome to participate as much or as little as you're comfortable with. We recommend picking out a favorite passage or two that we can read aloud and use as jumping off points for further discussion.

Q: Where exactly is the event location and where can I park?

A: Marist Annex is on the north end of campus (C7 on campus map): https://www.catholic.edu/res/docs/cuamap.pdf.) Free street parking is available on Harewood Road.

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Marist Annex

The Catholic University of America

Washington, DC 20064

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