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After This | [Alice McDermott]

After This

Alice McDermott's masterful new novel is a vivd portrait of an American family caught at the crossroads of the tumultuous middle decades of the 20th century. Witty, compassionate, and wry, After This evokes the social, political, and spiritual upheavals of its time through the experiences of a working-class couple, John and Mary Keane, their four children, and the changes radiating through their Catholic community on Long Island.
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Publisher's Summary

Alice McDermott's masterful new novel is a vivd portrait of an American family caught at the crossroads of the tumultuous middle decades of the 20th century. Witty, compassionate, and wry, After This evokes the social, political, and spiritual upheavals of its time through the experiences of a working-class couple, John and Mary Keane, their four children, and the changes radiating through their Catholic community on Long Island.

As John and Mary struggle to uphold the framework of their family, the four siblings are destined to experience, firsthand, the challenges and liberties born in the crucible of the 1960s. Alive with passions and tragedies of a determining era in our history, After This portrays the clash of traditional, faith-bound life with modern freedom while also capturing, with McDermott's inimitable understanding and grace, the joy, sorrow, anger, and love that underpin, and undermine, what it is to be a family.

©2006 Alice McDermott; (P)2006 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Finalist, Literary Fiction, 2007

"[McDermott] flawlessly encapsulates an era in the private moments of one family's life." (Publishers Weekly)
"Word by word, metaphor by metaphor, McDermott writes the most exquisitely perceptive and atmospheric fiction published today." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.2 (58 )
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3.0 (14 )
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3.6 (14 )
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  •  
    Jeanne Springfield, MA, United States 10-29-06
    Jeanne Springfield, MA, United States 10-29-06 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Jewel of a Book"

    This book is probably not for everyone. Not a lot happens and a lot of the big things that do happen take place off stage. But I thought it was just wonderful. The author uses a series of scenes from the lives of each of the characters to give us a fully realized picture of one family's life. No melodrama-but I had tears in my eyes a the end.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jana Richmond, CA, United States 05-20-07
    Jana Richmond, CA, United States 05-20-07 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    118
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    "Boring"

    I got about halfway through and gave up. Like other reviewers said, nothing happens and to me, the characters never really come alive. I realized I was bored and it was like listening to my mother on the phone tell me about people I don't know. Sorry...I tried to like it but finally decided I was wasting my time.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Irving, TX, USA 09-28-06
    Michael Irving, TX, USA 09-28-06 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Beautiful"

    Stunning! Highly recommended! McDermott paints pictures with words, melodies with sentences. Literature as art. Plimpton's narration only adds to the beauty. If you love books, listen here.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edie Arlington, MA, United States 05-09-07
    Edie Arlington, MA, United States 05-09-07
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    "poignant and poetic"

    This is a beautifully written book, with a lot of depth. Themes such as war, religion and the role of chance connect the stories, which take place in the lives of one family over thirty years. However, I don't think that the narrator, Martha Plympton, does it justice. She merely reads it aloud without assuming the voices of any of the characters. Adult or child, male or female, drunk or sober, nun or college professor, they all sound the same. I'd recommend reading the book, rather than listening to it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joyce hendersonville, NC, USA 04-15-07
    Joyce hendersonville, NC, USA 04-15-07 Member Since 2006
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    "beautifully written"

    This beautifully written book is not what I expected. It uses the devise of the short story, each story telling one episode in the life of one member of the family. The book is essentially a collection of short stories. Each story could stand on its own. I would have liked this book better if it were presented to be a group of short stories. I kept waiting for something to tie the stories together, but they never really are tied together. The only thing that kept me going to finish the book was the beauty of the writing. It is slow, not a lot happens, and, as another reviewer comments, most of the action happens 'off stage'. I rated this book for quality, not for content.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Brooklyn, NY, USA 03-03-07
    Karen Brooklyn, NY, USA 03-03-07
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    "Wonderful portrait of a family"

    This exquisitely written and beautifully read book takes some time to draw you in. As a prior review notes, not a lot 'happens' but the beauty of the story is in the fine details of the life of a family. Even the minor characters become vivid over time. Growing up on Long Island (the setting for the book), I can attest that it accurately captures the time, location and emotions of the period. Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    happybooker 02-27-13
    happybooker 02-27-13

    happybooker

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    "AFTER THIS, I want to read or listen to more!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    AFTER THIS is very well written and narrated. There is not a false note anywhere.
    For those of us who grew up in a similar milieu, this book is a "remembrance of things past". McDermott writes fine social histories populated with 3 dimensional characters, many with their own back-stories.
    I have often turned to fiction when studying history. Yes, we need test books, lectures, articles,etc., but I find that by reading different authors who do diligent research in their genre are a great source of ancillary information and entertainment. Back door history at its best can be a great teaching/learning tool. This is a history narration I understand. I lived it. Well done Ms. McDermott and Ms.Plimpton!


    What other book might you compare After This to and why?

    THE EDGE OF SADNESS by Edwin O'Connor. Boston Irish in the 1950's. Pulitzer Prize winner.
    Mary Gordon, Gail, Godwin, Madeline L'Engle - her personal history.


    Have you listened to any of Martha Plimpton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    She gives a wonderful performance in this book. I will be looking for other narrations.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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