More than any other writer, Alice McDermott exposes the vein of poetry, of profound joy and pain that transforms everyday experience into the heroic and universal. At Weddings and Wakes tells the bittersweet, lovable, human story of an Irish-Catholic family on Long Island as seen through the eyes of two sisters and a brother.
An 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.
"Each word chosen like a jewel"
Alice McDermott "is a genius of quiet observation", said the Los Angeles Times. "One of our finest novelists." McDermott's books include Charming Billy, winner of the National Book Award, and After This.
The beautiful child of older parents, raised on the eastern end of Long Island among the summer houses of the rich, Theresa is the town's most sough-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 left a crowded working-class household in the city to spend a few quiet weeks in this bucolic place, under Theresa's benevolent eye.
"Stuggling to finish this book"
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.
"A Jewel of a Book"
Elizabeth Connelly, editor at a New York vanity press, sells the dream of publication (admittedly, to writers of questionable talent). Stories of true emotional depth rarely cross her desk. But when a young writer named Tupper Daniels walks in, bearing an unfinished novel, Elizabeth is drawn to both the novelist and his story - a lyrical tale about a man in love with more than one woman at once. Tupper’s manuscript unlocks memories of her own secretive father, who himself may have been a bigamist.