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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

Critic Reviews

  • 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 Ratings

Overall

  • 3.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    12
  • 4 Stars
    23
  • 3 Stars
    22
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    8

Performance

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    8
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 3.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    6
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    4
Sort by:
  • Overall

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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. <br/>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. <br/>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!<br/>

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.<br/>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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Edie
  • Arlington, MA, United States
  • 05-09-07

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Joyce
  • hendersonville, NC, USA
  • 04-15-07

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Karen
  • Brooklyn, NY, USA
  • 03-03-07

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • IH
  • Greenbrae, CA
  • 08-22-17

Context for your own story

What disappointed you about After This?

The whole book sets the context with imagery and style but never delivers on story or characters. The book describes one scene after another and moves forward with very brief and vague accounts of the events.

Has After This turned you off from other books in this genre?

No

Which scene was your favorite?

None. Kept reading thinking it would get better but it never did.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Good technical writing skills of the author. Her prior works must be well received: this one seems like an experiment.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

After This

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The story itself

What could Alice McDermott have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Character development, not jumping years, less focus on insignificant details

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Martha Plimpton?

She was a pretty good narrator

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from After This?

I wouldn't have published it like that at all

Any additional comments?

There was zero character development. The only way I knew something had happened is they mentioned it at a later part in the book. There were so many insignificant details that seemed like a waste of time. The story was just awful.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jana
  • Richmond, CA, United States
  • 05-20-07

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

just didn't get it

listened to the book in 2 sittings... clearly I missed something. I just didn't the point of it,