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Author of the Month

Alice McDermott was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1953. Her first novel, A Bigamists' Daughter, was published to wide acclaim in 1982. That Night (1987), her second novel, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. In his cover review for The New York Times Book Review, David Leavitt called That Night "an original, a work that revels in a rich, discursive prose style that belongs entirely to Alice McDermott." Charming Billy (1998), which won the National Book Award, tells the tragic story of the late Billy Lynch within the complex matrix of a tightly knit Irish American community. Her other books include At Weddings and Wakes, Child of My Heart, and After This.

In her latest novel, The Ninth Hour, a young Irish immigrant opens the gas taps in his Brooklyn tenement on a dim winter afternoon. He is determined to prove to the subway bosses who have recently fired him, and to his badgering, pregnant wife "that the hours of his life belong to himself alone." In the aftermath of the fire that follows, Sister St. Savior, an aging nun, a Little Sister of the Sick Poor, appears, unbidden, to direct the way forward for his widow and his unborn child. In Catholic Brooklyn, in the early part of the twentieth century, decorum, superstition, and shame collude to erase the man's brief existence, and yet his suicide, although never spoken of, reverberates through many lives, testing the limits and the demands of love and sacrifice, forgiveness and forgetfulness, through multiple generations. Rendered with lucidity and intelligence, The Ninth Hour explores love and morality in the kitchens, sickbeds, train compartments, love nests, and basement laundry rooms of three generations. (Hardcover. $37.00. FSG. September)


The Ninth Hour

- Hardcover

by Alice Mcdermott - $37.00 - Add to Cart

A magnificent new novel from one of America's finest writers--a powerfully affecting story spanning the twentieth century of a widow and her daughter and the nuns who serve their Irish-American community in Brooklyn.On a dim winter afternoon, a young Irish immigrant opens the gas taps in his Brooklyn tenement. He is determined to prove--to the subway bosses who have recently fired him, to his badgering, pregnant wife--"that the hours of his life belong to himself alone." In the aftermath of the fire that follows, Sister St. Savior, an aging nun appears, unbidden, to direct the way forward for his widow and his unborn child.We begin deep inside Catholic Brooklyn, in the early part of the twentieth century. Decorum, superstition, and shame collude to erase the man's brief existence. Yet his suicide, although never spoken of, reverberates through many lives and over the decades testing the limits and the demands of love and sacrifice, of forgiveness and forgetfulness, even through multiple generations.The characters we meet, from Sally, the unborn baby at the beginning of the novel, who becomes the center of the story to the nuns whose personalities we come to know and love to the neighborhood families with whose lives they are entwined, are all rendered with extraordinary sympathy and McDermott's trademark lucidity and intelligence. Alice McDermott'sThe Ninth Hour is a crowning achievement by one of the premiere writers at work in America today.

After This

- Trade paperback

by Alice McDermott - $18.00 - Add to Cart

On a wild, windy April day in Manhattan, when Mary first meets John Keane, she cannot know what lies ahead of her. A marriage, a fleeting season of romance, and the birth of four children will bring John and Mary to rest in the safe embrace of a traditional Catholic life in the suburbs. But neither Mary nor John, distracted by memories and longings, can feel the wind that is buffeting their children, leading them in directions beyond their parents’ control. Michael and his sister Annie are caught up in the sexual revolution. Jacob, brooding and frail, is drafted to Vietnam. And the youngest, Clare, commits a stunning transgression after a childhood spent pleasing her parents. As John and Mary struggle to hold on to their family and their faith, Alice McDermott weaves an elegant, unforgettable portrait of a world in flux–and of the secrets and sorrows, anger and love, that lie at the heart of every family.

At Weddings and Wakes

- Trade paperback

by Alice Mcdermott - $18.00 - Add to Cart

Lucy Dailey leaves suburbia twice a week with her three children in tow, returning to the Brooklyn home where she grew up, and where her stepmother and unmarried sisters still live. The children quietly observe Aunt Veronica, who drowns her sorrows in drink. Aunt Agnes, a caustic career woman, and finally Aunt May, the ex-nun, blossoming with a late and unexpected love, dutifully absorbing the legacy of their less-than-perfect family. Alice McDermott beautifully evokes three generations ofan Irish-American family in this haunting and masterly work of literary art" ( The Wall Street Journal ). "

Charming Billy

- Trade paperback

by Alice Mcdermott - $24.00 - Add to Cart

Billy Lynch's family and friends have gathered to comfort his widow, and to pay their respects to one of the last great romantics. As they trade tales of his famous humor, immense charm, and consuming sorrow, a complex portrait emerges of an enigmatic man, a loyal friend, a beloved husband, an incurable alcoholic. Alice McDermott's striking novel,Charming Billy, is a study of the lies that bind and the weight of familial love, of the way good intentions can be as destructive as the truth they were meant to hide.Charming Billy is the winner of the 1998 National Book Award for Fiction.

Child of My Heart

- Trade paperback

by Alice Mcdermott - $24.00 - Add to Cart

In Alice McDermott's first work of fiction since her best-selling, National Book Award-winning Charming Billy , a woman recalls her fifteenth summer with the wry and bittersweet wisdom of hindsight. The beautiful child of older parents, raised on the eastern end of Long Island, Theresa is her town's most sought-after babysitter - cheerful, poised, an effortless storyteller, a wonder with children and animals. Among her charges this fateful summer is Daisy, her younger cousin, who has come to spend a few quiet weeks in this bucolic place. While Theresa copes with the challenge presented by the neighborhood's waiflike children, the tumultuous households of her employers, the attentions of an aging painter, and Daisy's fragility of body and spirit, her precocious, tongue-in-check sense of order is tested as she makes the perilous crossing into adulthood. In her deeply etched rendering of all that happened that seemingly idyllic season, McDermott once again peers into the depths of everyday life with inimitable insight and grace.

Someone

- Trade paperback

by Alice Mcdermott - $17.99 - Add to Cart

A novel that speaks of life as it is daily lived; a crowning achievement by one of the finest American writersAn ordinary life-its sharp pains and unexpected joys, its bursts of clarity and moments of confusion-lived by an ordinary woman: this is the subject of Someone, Alice McDermott's extraordinary return, seven years after the publication of After This. Scattered recollections-of childhood, adolescence, motherhood, old age-come together in this transformative narrative, stitched into a vibrant whole by McDermott's deft, lyrical voice.Our first glimpse of Marie is as a child: a girl in glasses waiting on a Brooklyn stoop for her beloved father to come home from work. A seemingly innocuous encounter with a young woman named Pegeen sets the bittersweet tone of this remarkable novel. She describes herself as an "amadan," a fool; indeed, soon after her chat with Marie, Pegeen tumbles down her own basement stairs. The magic of McDermott's novel lies in how it reveals us all as fools for this or that, in one way or another.Marie's first heartbreak and her eventual marriage; her brother's brief stint as a Catholic priest, subsequent loss of faith and eventual breakdown; the Second World War; her parents' deaths; the births and lives of Marie's children; the changing world of her Irish-American enclave in Brooklyn-McDermott sketches all of it with sympathy and insight.

That Night

- Trade paperback

by Alice Mcdermott - $17.00 - Add to Cart

A Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award It is high summer, the early 1960s. Sheryl and Rick, two Long Island teenagers, share an intense, all-consuming love. But Sheryl's widowed mother steps between them, and one moonlit night Rick and a gang of hoodlums descend upon her quiet neighborhood. That night, driven by Rick's determination to reclaim Sheryl, the young men provoke a violent confrontation, and as fathers step forward to protect their turf, notions of innocence belonging to both sides of the brawl are fractured forever. Alice McDermott's That Night is a moving and captivating novel, both celebration and elegy... a rare and memorable work" ( The Cleveland Plain Dealer ). "