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After This: A Novel

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After This: A Novel Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"Alice McDermott's sixth novel...returns her readers to the familiar terrain of Irish American Long Island and, yet again, to the combination of qualities — compressed, poetic prose allied with an unblinking, William Trevor–ish sympathy for the muffled spiritual adventures of the most middling members of the middle classes — that have earned McDermott her high reputation (and prizes: she has a National Book Award and two Pulitzer nominations to her credit)." Joseph O'Neill, The Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Alice McDermott's powerful novel is a vivid portrait of an American family in the middle decades of the twentieth century. Witty, compassionate, and wry, it captures the social, political, and spiritual upheavals of those decades through the experiences of a middle-class couple, their four children, and the changing worlds in which they live. While Michael and Annie Keane taste the alternately intoxicating and bitter first fruits of the sexual revolution, their older, more tentative brother, Jacob, lags behind, until he finds himself on the way to Vietnam. Meanwhile, Clare, the youngest child of their aging parents, seeks to maintain an almost saintly innocence. After This, alive with the passions and tragedies of a determining era in our history, portrays the clash of traditional, faith-bound life and 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. Alice McDermott is the author of five previous novels, including Child of My Heart; Charming Billy, winner of the 1998 National Book Award; and At Weddings and Wakes, all published by FSG. She lives with her family outside Washington, D.C. Pulitzer Prize FinalistA New York Times Notable Book of the Year Alice McDermott's new novel, After This, is a vivid portrait of the twentieth century and 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. While Michael and Annie Keane taste the alternatively intoxicating and bitter first fruits of the sexual revolution, their older, more tentative brother, Jacob, lags behind, until he finds himself on the way to Vietnam. Clare, the youngest child of their aging parents, seeks to maintain an impossible, almost saintly innocence. As John and Mary struggle to uphold the framework of their family, the four siblings are destined to experience, first-hand, the challenges and liberties born in the crucible of the 1960s. Alive with the 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 the joy, sorrow, anger, and love that underpin and undermine, what it is to be a family. Pulitzer Prize Finalist Ms. McDermott gives us an affecting meditation on the consolations and discontents of family life--the centripetal and centrifugal forces that bind husbands and wives, parents and children together and fling them ineluctably apart . . . She] has returned to the territory she knows best: the family (specifically, the Irish middle-class family, around the 1960's). And her easy authority with this material, combined with her clear-eyed sympathy for her characters, results in a moving, old-fashioned story about longing and loss and sorrow.--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times Ms. McDermott gives us an affecting meditation on the consolations and discontents of family life--the centripetal and centrifugal forces that bind husbands and wives, parents and children together and fling them ineluctably apart . . . She] has returned to the territory she knows best: the family (specifically, the Irish middle-class family, around the 1960's). And her easy authority with this material, combined with her clear-eyed sympathy for her characters, results in a moving, old-fashioned story about longing and loss and sorrow.--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times To recount the bare outline of a single scene between a couple named John and Mary, lower middle-class parents residing in the bland-lands of suburban Long Island, is to be reminded of what an extraordinary artist Alice McDermott is . . . In the way McDermott tells their story--in her surgeon's eye for detail, in her poet's virtuosity with language, in her unrelenting ability to penetrate surfaces and explore the rich and tragic nuances of the human predicament--the everyday is transubstantiated into art and the wash-and-wear facts of a Catholic family of six...riding out the boom and gloom of America's post-World War II suburban saga is made into the stuff of literature . . . I know of no more truthful writer than Alice McDermott . . . I can't but assess and admire her transcendent capacity to capture the shares presumptions and sharp-angled perspective . . . of the urban Irish-Catholic community . . . Alice McDermott is a powerful and graceful novelist. Her abilities as a stylist and storyteller put her in the first rank of American writers, and After This will only add to that reputation . . . Her greatest gift is to make her Catholic sensibility indistinguishable from the catholicity of her literary imagination, a clement, loving, and sweet (but never saccharine) embrace of all that is human.--Peter Quinn, Commonwealth

Insightful, moving, often poetic, and descriptive of something broader than it at first appears . . . It's a brief novel that fulfills its promise, to capture through one family the upheaval of an entire generation.--Jean Blish Siers, Charlotte Observer It is no secret that Alice McDermott, winner of the 1998 National Book Award for Charming Billy, is a writer of many talents, but to read her new novel, After This, is to be reminded how rare her gifts are . . . McDermott has always written relatively short novels. Again in After This there is no excess, no look-at-me pyrotechnics in her prose; with the mastery of a poet, she distills the life of the Keanes to its essence. Her method is familiar, going back and forth in time to reveal the story and the meaning bit by bit, as she peels back from the surface to the point of revelation . . . Several of McDermott's novels have a mythic quality, and this one achieves that mark most keenly . . . All her books are touched with the grace of her generous intelligence, her sly wit and her compassion for our longings, our griefs and the revelations that come only in the briefest of glimmers. The opportunities for revelation are greater because we have books such as this one, because of McDermott's quiet and sublime gift.--Jane Hamilton, The Washington Post Book World McDermott's preoccupations go much deeper than baby-boom artifacts, deeper even than mere history. What is it, she wonders, that holds together the loose fabric of our lives? . . . This is a daring book. McDermott lets the major events happen offstage . . . By the end of this strangely haunting novel, you're convinced that what she knows is something bigger than just New York and Long Island.--Richard Lacayo, Time After This demonstrates McDermott's technique at its most elliptical and effective.--Paul Gray, The New York Times Book Review It is hard to know how to start piling on the praise for this gripping, poignant book. It would seem there is no technique of fiction McDermott has not mastered. Like the masters, she makes it look effortless . . . The power of her language is as strong as ever . . . What a joy it is to experience subtlety, reticence and the intelligent unfolding of a real story before your eyes, as opposed to the in-your-face posturing of so many of McDermott's contemporaries, for whom style has dissipated into mannerism and strange, stereotypical character-building . . . Thank God for Alice McDermott's guts and imagination.--Conan Putnam, Chicago Tribune Alice McDermott's exquisite sixth novel unfolds in unhurried splendor, its pace so exacting you can feel the sting of sand in a high city wind . . . A character study of profound dimension . . . The only promise of grace that McDermott dares to make is the beauty found in rendering it.--Gail Caldwell, The Boston Globe Alice McDermott] sees patterns and themes that others overlook. She covers enormous ground yet never wastes a word, and brings to life a family representative of so many families in our not so distant past. It is the mark of a great novelist to make the particular universal.--Clare McHugh, The New York Sun Alice McDermott's fully imagined and beautifully written After This is more a collection of connected short stories or vignettes than a typical plotted novel . . . Each chapter is a gem in itself, with perfect details, dead-on dialogue and a slow, careful look into the hearts and minds of its characters.--Sarah Willis, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) Alice McDermott writes beautiful, understated sentences so subtle and yet so packed with insight that if you blink, you might miss, say, the death of a character, or the realization by another that her grown-up life 'would not be the life she had wanted' . . . McDermott's prose is stunning . . . Her] talent never fails to impress.--Jocelyn McClurg, USA Today Alice McDermott's sixth novel, After This, returns her readers to the familiar terrain of Irish American Long Island and, yet again, to the combination of qualities--compressed, poetic prose allied with an unblinking, William Trevor-ish sympathy for the muffled spiritual adventures of the most middling members of the middle classes--that have earned McDermott her high reputation (and prizes: she has a National Book Award and two Pulitzer nominations to her credit).--Atlantic Monthly There is the temptation, after reading Alice McDermott, to read nothing else for the longest time--to hold every exquisite word of her most exquisite novels in your head. There is the temptation to declare that she, along with Michael Ondaatje, is the best living writer of our age. That she exercises patience, compassion and wisdom where others emphasize strut, that she trusts herself with the power of scenes over the inflated intricacies of complicated plot. There is the temptation to use the word 'genius' in association with McDermott's name, and this morning, having just completed her sixth novel

Review:

"A master at capturing Irish-Catholic American suburban life, particularly in That Night (1987) and the National Book Award — winning Charming Billy (1998), McDermott returns for this sixth novel with the Keane family of Long Island, who get swept up in the wake of the Vietnam War. When John and Mary Keane marry shortly after WWII, she's on the verge of spinsterhood, and he's a vet haunted by the death of a young private in his platoon. Jacob, their first-born, is given the dead soldier's name, an omen that will haunt the family when Jacob is killed in Vietnam (hauntingly underplayed by McDermott). In vignette-like chapters, some of which are stunning set pieces, McDermott probes the remaining family's inner lives. Catholic faith and Irish heritage anchor John and Mary's feelings, but their children experience their generation's doubt, rebellion and loss of innocence: next eldest Michael, who had always dominated Jacob, drowns his guilt and regret in sex and drugs; Anne quits college and moves to London with a lover; Clare, a high school senior, gets pregnant. The story of '60s and '70s suburbia has been told before, and McDermott has little to say about the Vietnam War itself. But she flawlessly encapsulates an era in the private moments of one family's life. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Astutely attuned to the spiritual consequences of a rapidly metamorphosing world and the mysteries of desire, love, faith, family, and friendship, McDermott elucidates all that changes and all that endures with wondrous specificity and plentitude of heart." Donna Seaman, Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"It is hard to know how to start piling on the praise for this gripping, poignant book. It would seem there is no technique of fiction McDermott has not mastered." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"From its opening sentence...Alice McDermott's exquisite sixth novel unfolds in unhurried splendor, its pace so exacting you can feel the sting of sand in a high city wind." Boston Globe

Review:

"Another lovely needlepoint of a novel about middle-class Irish-American life....[McDermott is] a canny observer of domestic dynamics. (Grade: A-)" Entertainment Weekly

Synopsis:

Witty, compassionate, and wry, this novel captures the social, political, and spiritual upheavals of the middle decades of the 20th century through the experiences of a middle-class couple, their four children, and the changing worlds in which they live.

Synopsis:

A vivid portrait of an American family in the middle decades of the twentieth century by bestselling author Alice McDermott

Synopsis:

       Alice McDermott's powerful new novel wittily captures the social, political and spiritual upheavals of the mid-twentieth century through the story of a family, and the changing world in which they live.

       While Michael and Annie Keane taste the alternately intoxicating and bitter first fruits of the sexual revolution, their older, more tentative brother lags behind, until he finds himself on the way to Vietnam. Meanwhile, Clare, the youngest child of their aging parents, seeks to maintain an almost saintly innocence.

        After This, alive with the passions and tragedies of a determining era in our history, portrays the clash of traditional, faith-bound life and 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

Synopsis:

Alice McDermott's powerful novel is a vivid portrait of an American family in the middle decades of the twentieth century. Witty, compassionate, and wry, it captures the social, political, and spiritual upheavals of those decades through the experiences of a middle-class couple, their four children, and the changing worlds in which they live. While Michael and Annie Keane taste the alternately intoxicating and bitter first fruits of the sexual revolution, their older, more tentative brother, Jacob, lags behind, until he finds himself on the way to Vietnam. Meanwhile, Clare, the youngest child of their aging parents, seeks to maintain an almost saintly innocence. After This, alive with the passions and tragedies of a determining era in our history, portrays the clash of traditional, faith-bound life and 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. Alice McDermott is the author of five previous novels, including Child of My Heart; Charming Billy, winner of the 1998 National Book Award; and At Weddings and Wakes, all published by FSG. She lives with her family outside Washington, D.C. Pulitzer Prize FinalistA New York Times Notable Book of the Year Alice McDermott's new novel, After This, is a vivid portrait of the twentieth century and 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. While Michael and Annie Keane taste the alternatively intoxicating and bitter first fruits of the sexual revolution, their older, more tentative brother, Jacob, lags behind, until he finds himself on the way to Vietnam. Clare, the youngest child of their aging parents, seeks to maintain an impossible, almost saintly innocence. As John and Mary struggle to uphold the framework of their family, the four siblings are destined to experience, first-hand, the challenges and liberties born in the crucible of the 1960s. Alive with the 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 the joy, sorrow, anger, and love that underpin and undermine, what it is to be a family. Pulitzer Prize Finalist Ms. McDermott gives us an affecting meditation on the consolations and discontents of family life--the centripetal and centrifugal forces that bind husbands and wives, parents and children together and fling them ineluctably apart . . . She] has returned to the territory she knows best: the family (specifically, the Irish middle-class family, around the 1960's). And her easy authority with this material, combined with her clear-eyed sympathy for her characters, results in a moving, old-fashioned story about longing and loss and sorrow.--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times Ms. McDermott gives us an affecting meditation on the consolations and discontents of family life--the centripetal and centrifugal forces that bind husbands and wives, parents and children together and fling them ineluctably apart . . . She] has returned to the territory she knows best: the family (specifically, the Irish middle-class family, around the 1960's). And her easy authority with this material, combined with her clear-eyed sympathy for her characters, results in a moving, old-fashioned story about longing and loss and sorrow.--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times To recount the bare outline of a single scene between a couple named John and Mary, lower middle-class parents residing in the bland-lands of suburban Long Island, is to be reminded of what an extraordinary artist Alice McDermott is . . . In the way McDermott tells their story--in her surgeon's eye for detail, in her poet's virtuosity with language, in her unrelenting ability to penetrate surfaces and explore the rich and tragic nuances of the human predicament--the everyday is transubstantiated into art and the wash-and-wear facts of a Catholic family of six...riding out the boom and gloom of America's post-World War II suburban saga is made into the stuff of literature . . . I know of no more truthful writer than Alice McDermott . . . I can't but assess and admire her transcendent capacity to capture the shares presumptions and sharp-angled perspective . . . of the urban Irish-Catholic community . . . Alice McDermott is a powerful and graceful novelist. Her abilities as a stylist and storyteller put her in the first rank of American writers, and After This will only add to that reputation . . . Her greatest gift is to make her Catholic sensibility indistinguishable from the catholicity of her literary imagination, a clement, loving, and sweet (but never saccharine) embrace of all that is human.--Peter Quinn, Commonwealth

Insightful, moving, often poetic, and descriptive of something broader than it at first appears . . . It's a brief novel that fulfills its promise, to capture through one family the upheaval of an entire generation.--Jean Blish Siers, Charlotte Observer It is no secret that Alice McDermott, winner of the 1998 National Book Award for Charming Billy, is a writer of many talents, but to read her new novel, After This, is to be reminded how rare her gifts are . . . McDermott has always written relatively short novels. Again in After This there is no excess, no look-at-me pyrotechnics in her prose; with the mastery of a poet, she distills the life of the Keanes to its essence. Her method is familiar, going back and forth in time to reveal the story and the meaning bit by bit, as she peels back from the surface to the point of revelation . . . Several of McDermott's novels have a mythic quality, and this one achieves that mark most keenly . . . All her books are touched with the grace of her generous

About the Author

Alice McDermott is the author of five previous novels, including Child of My Heart; Charming Billy, winner of the 1998 National Book Award; and At Weddings and Wakes, all published by FSG. She lives with her family outside Washington, D.C.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Lee Kissick, February 21, 2011 (view all comments by Lee Kissick)
I wouldn't have guessed that such a spare book could so thoroughly evoke a 20-yr interval. I admire that McDermott cleverly spent little text on the more flagrant cliches of the times (e.g., a son lost in Nam, drug use) that would have overcolored and diminished the story. The vignettes were perfectly spaced in time and cohered wonderously. The characters emerged fully detailed and credible although darned if I can find anywhere that McDermott wasted space elaborating their personal traits. The players just emerged very naturally. Didn't expect to enjoy this so much ... I'll hunt down more of her novels.
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lea Bishop, November 10, 2006 (view all comments by lea Bishop)
At sixty-one years of age, I spent the time reading After This in an inner parallel process of reliving my very similar, although, middle-class Protestant, upbringing. For the duration of the reading, I experienced concurrent joy and anguish as the ghosts of my past came back to haunt.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780374168094
Author:
McDermott, Alice
Publisher:
Farrar Straus Giroux
Author:
Plimpton, Martha
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Social life and customs
Subject:
United states
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
United States Social life and customs.
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
September 5, 2006
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
9 cds, 10.5 hours
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.53 x 5.76 x 1.095 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

After This: A Novel Used Hardcover
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$3.50 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374168094 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "A master at capturing Irish-Catholic American suburban life, particularly in That Night (1987) and the National Book Award — winning Charming Billy (1998), McDermott returns for this sixth novel with the Keane family of Long Island, who get swept up in the wake of the Vietnam War. When John and Mary Keane marry shortly after WWII, she's on the verge of spinsterhood, and he's a vet haunted by the death of a young private in his platoon. Jacob, their first-born, is given the dead soldier's name, an omen that will haunt the family when Jacob is killed in Vietnam (hauntingly underplayed by McDermott). In vignette-like chapters, some of which are stunning set pieces, McDermott probes the remaining family's inner lives. Catholic faith and Irish heritage anchor John and Mary's feelings, but their children experience their generation's doubt, rebellion and loss of innocence: next eldest Michael, who had always dominated Jacob, drowns his guilt and regret in sex and drugs; Anne quits college and moves to London with a lover; Clare, a high school senior, gets pregnant. The story of '60s and '70s suburbia has been told before, and McDermott has little to say about the Vietnam War itself. But she flawlessly encapsulates an era in the private moments of one family's life. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "Alice McDermott's sixth novel...returns her readers to the familiar terrain of Irish American Long Island and, yet again, to the combination of qualities — compressed, poetic prose allied with an unblinking, William Trevor–ish sympathy for the muffled spiritual adventures of the most middling members of the middle classes — that have earned McDermott her high reputation (and prizes: she has a National Book Award and two Pulitzer nominations to her credit)." (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)
"Review" by , "Astutely attuned to the spiritual consequences of a rapidly metamorphosing world and the mysteries of desire, love, faith, family, and friendship, McDermott elucidates all that changes and all that endures with wondrous specificity and plentitude of heart."
"Review" by , "It is hard to know how to start piling on the praise for this gripping, poignant book. It would seem there is no technique of fiction McDermott has not mastered."
"Review" by , "From its opening sentence...Alice McDermott's exquisite sixth novel unfolds in unhurried splendor, its pace so exacting you can feel the sting of sand in a high city wind."
"Review" by , "Another lovely needlepoint of a novel about middle-class Irish-American life....[McDermott is] a canny observer of domestic dynamics. (Grade: A-)"
"Synopsis" by , Witty, compassionate, and wry, this novel captures the social, political, and spiritual upheavals of the middle decades of the 20th century through the experiences of a middle-class couple, their four children, and the changing worlds in which they live.
"Synopsis" by ,
A vivid portrait of an American family in the middle decades of the twentieth century by bestselling author Alice McDermott

"Synopsis" by ,
       Alice McDermott's powerful new novel wittily captures the social, political and spiritual upheavals of the mid-twentieth century through the story of a family, and the changing world in which they live.

       While Michael and Annie Keane taste the alternately intoxicating and bitter first fruits of the sexual revolution, their older, more tentative brother lags behind, until he finds himself on the way to Vietnam. Meanwhile, Clare, the youngest child of their aging parents, seeks to maintain an almost saintly innocence.

        After This, alive with the passions and tragedies of a determining era in our history, portrays the clash of traditional, faith-bound life and 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

"Synopsis" by , Alice McDermott's powerful novel is a vivid portrait of an American family in the middle decades of the twentieth century. Witty, compassionate, and wry, it captures the social, political, and spiritual upheavals of those decades through the experiences of a middle-class couple, their four children, and the changing worlds in which they live. While Michael and Annie Keane taste the alternately intoxicating and bitter first fruits of the sexual revolution, their older, more tentative brother, Jacob, lags behind, until he finds himself on the way to Vietnam. Meanwhile, Clare, the youngest child of their aging parents, seeks to maintain an almost saintly innocence. After This, alive with the passions and tragedies of a determining era in our history, portrays the clash of traditional, faith-bound life and 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. Alice McDermott is the author of five previous novels, including Child of My Heart; Charming Billy, winner of the 1998 National Book Award; and At Weddings and Wakes, all published by FSG. She lives with her family outside Washington, D.C. Pulitzer Prize FinalistA New York Times Notable Book of the Year Alice McDermott's new novel, After This, is a vivid portrait of the twentieth century and 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. While Michael and Annie Keane taste the alternatively intoxicating and bitter first fruits of the sexual revolution, their older, more tentative brother, Jacob, lags behind, until he finds himself on the way to Vietnam. Clare, the youngest child of their aging parents, seeks to maintain an impossible, almost saintly innocence. As John and Mary struggle to uphold the framework of their family, the four siblings are destined to experience, first-hand, the challenges and liberties born in the crucible of the 1960s. Alive with the 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 the joy, sorrow, anger, and love that underpin and undermine, what it is to be a family. Pulitzer Prize Finalist Ms. McDermott gives us an affecting meditation on the consolations and discontents of family life--the centripetal and centrifugal forces that bind husbands and wives, parents and children together and fling them ineluctably apart . . . She] has returned to the territory she knows best: the family (specifically, the Irish middle-class family, around the 1960's). And her easy authority with this material, combined with her clear-eyed sympathy for her characters, results in a moving, old-fashioned story about longing and loss and sorrow.--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times Ms. McDermott gives us an affecting meditation on the consolations and discontents of family life--the centripetal and centrifugal forces that bind husbands and wives, parents and children together and fling them ineluctably apart . . . She] has returned to the territory she knows best: the family (specifically, the Irish middle-class family, around the 1960's). And her easy authority with this material, combined with her clear-eyed sympathy for her characters, results in a moving, old-fashioned story about longing and loss and sorrow.--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times To recount the bare outline of a single scene between a couple named John and Mary, lower middle-class parents residing in the bland-lands of suburban Long Island, is to be reminded of what an extraordinary artist Alice McDermott is . . . In the way McDermott tells their story--in her surgeon's eye for detail, in her poet's virtuosity with language, in her unrelenting ability to penetrate surfaces and explore the rich and tragic nuances of the human predicament--the everyday is transubstantiated into art and the wash-and-wear facts of a Catholic family of six...riding out the boom and gloom of America's post-World War II suburban saga is made into the stuff of literature . . . I know of no more truthful writer than Alice McDermott . . . I can't but assess and admire her transcendent capacity to capture the shares presumptions and sharp-angled perspective . . . of the urban Irish-Catholic community . . . Alice McDermott is a powerful and graceful novelist. Her abilities as a stylist and storyteller put her in the first rank of American writers, and After This will only add to that reputation . . . Her greatest gift is to make her Catholic sensibility indistinguishable from the catholicity of her literary imagination, a clement, loving, and sweet (but never saccharine) embrace of all that is human.--Peter Quinn, Commonwealth

Insightful, moving, often poetic, and descriptive of something broader than it at first appears . . . It's a brief novel that fulfills its promise, to capture through one family the upheaval of an entire generation.--Jean Blish Siers, Charlotte Observer It is no secret that Alice McDermott, winner of the 1998 National Book Award for Charming Billy, is a writer of many talents, but to read her new novel, After This, is to be reminded how rare her gifts are . . . McDermott has always written relatively short novels. Again in After This there is no excess, no look-at-me pyrotechnics in her prose; with the mastery of a poet, she distills the life of the Keanes to its essence. Her method is familiar, going back and forth in time to reveal the story and the meaning bit by bit, as she peels back from the surface to the point of revelation . . . Several of McDermott's novels have a mythic quality, and this one achieves that mark most keenly . . . All her books are touched with the grace of her generous

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