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Child of My Heart

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Child of My Heart Cover

ISBN13: 9780312422912
ISBN10: 0312422911
Condition: Standard
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Staff Pick

Book after book, Alice McDermott does more with less. "I'm very conscious of trying to make something epic out of something small and ordinary," says the National Book Award winner. Now she gives us Child of My Heart, a deceptively simple story about one fifteen-year-old girl's summer on the east end of Long Island. Like a lot of poetry, McDermott's fifth novel can defined as well by what it omits as by what it presents. Again, McDermott's subtle mechanics transform a traditional story into a fresh new vision of the world.
Recommended by Dave, Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"This specific, full world, along with McDermott's stringent modesty and moral rigor, allows her to ponder deep contemporary and eternal questions (in her hands they seem to be the same ones) without fuss or bombast....McDermott displays a vibrant romantic hope exactly matched by a realist's awareness of daily devastation." Mona Simpson, Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Alice McDermott is the author of six novels and a three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The recipient of a Whiting Writers Award, Ms. McDermott is currently the Richard A. Macksey Professor for Distinguished Teaching in the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Her articles, reviews and stories have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, Redbook and elsewhere.

A Los Angeles Times Best Book

In Alice McDermott's haunting new work of fictionher first since the best-selling Charming Billy, winner of the National Book Awarda 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 among the summer houses of the rich, Teresa is the town's most sought-after babysittercheerful, poised, an effortless storyteller, a wonder with children and animalsbut also a solitary soul already attuned to the paradoxes and compromises of adult life. 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.

While Theresa copes with the challenge presented by the neighborhood's waiflike children, the tumultuous households of her employers, the mysteriously compelling attentions of an aging painter, and Daisy's fragility of body and spirit, her precocious, tongue-in-check sense of order is put to the test as she makes the perilous crossing into adulthood.

McDermott's deeply etched rendering of all that happened that seemingly idyllic season lends her surprising story its uniquely resonant impact. Once again, Alice McDermott explores the depths of everyday life with inimitable insight and grace.

"A meditation on the massacre of the innocents . . . Child of My Heart concerns itself with . . . the almost timeless, action-free lagoon of the spirit, the territory of dalliance and delightand also with its paradoxes, and also with how to make a story out of it."Margaret Atwood, The New York Review of Books

"Has something of a classic about it . . . [Its] craftsmanship and its moral intelligence are as one . . . Immaculate."The New York Times Book Review

"A meditation on the massacre of the innocents . . . Child of My Heart concerns itself with . . . the almost timeless, action-free lagoon of the spirit, the territory of dalliance and delightand also with its paradoxes, and also with how to make a story out of it."Margaret Atwood, The New York Review of Books

"It is one of Alice McDermotts many gifts that she is able to borrow from the riches of literature, both religious and secular, without becoming heavy-handedly allegorical or swapping resonance for allusion. In this novel, we have echoes and stirrings of Hardy, Shakespeare, Dickens, James, Beatrix Potter, Christina Rosetti . . . and a host of biblical and mythical tales. Because of these stirrings, the novel manages, in all of its simplicity, to contain the eerie and shimmering depths of a hologram . . . But what haunts, at the end of the novel, is the future, rather than the past, and it is this haunting that is McDermottss greatest accomplishment."Laura Kasischke, Chicago Tribune

"This is a novel which moves slowly and awakens the senses. Freed from the demands of an intricate plot, it lingers over light and shade, the taste of ripe peaches, and the smell of suntan lotion until we lose all sense of boundary between our world and its. McDermott does not rely on the momentum of the story to pull us along; rather, she commands our attention through arresting similes, original metaphors, and resonant, poetic descriptions. The dialogue, too, is expertly rendered, conveying a character's world-view in a single sentence. Although several of the wealthy Hamptonites conform to type, the novelist's keen ear ensures they never revert to cliché."Heather Clark, The Times Literary Supplement

"Alice McDermott is a genius of quiet observation. Her antenna is perpetually raised and turning, humming and warm with reception . . . Its apt that McDermott weaves into her story elements of A Midsummer Nights Dream, for this novel casts the same mystical spell as Shakespeares fantasy . . . McDermott, one of our finest novelists at work today, is the master of a domain that in the hands of most writers would be limiting. In Child of My Heart, she has transformed her trademark material of Irish American life into a poignant and rewarding fictional world."David Ebershoff, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"[A] quietly enchanting novel, graced by McDermott's well-calibrated writing and observant eye . . . Filled with subtle truths and hard-won wisdom."The Charlotte Observer

"Her prose is effortlessly effective, her characters varied and interesting, her narrative smoothly coherent . . . exquisitely subtle."Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

"Emotionally intelligent . . . unfailingly sensual, tactile, fragrant."The Raleigh News & Observer

"Subtle and beautiful . . . the tender relationship between [Daisy and Teresa] . . . is as revelatory and touching as any friendship recounted in recent fiction . . . If we have to learn the lessons of loss, let it be by reading novels such as this one."The Commercial Appeal

"Like an elegantly carved miniature of a person long dead and half forgotten, this novel captivates by its very darkness and sadness and reserve."Buffalo News

"A terrific writerprecise, immaculate, and with a keen lyrical ear."The Economist

"McDermott sculpts her small story with a meticulous eye for the telling detail and transcendent metaphor."Kirkus Reviews

"Magical . . . McDermott's gorgeous novel is laced with sly literary allusions and provocative insights into the enigma of sexual desire, the mutability of art, death's haunting presence, our need 20for fantasies, and the endless struggle to keep love pure."Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)

Review:

"There is...something Jamesian about McDermott's style: this novel's craftsmanship and its moral intelligence are as one." The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Though hobbled by a tendency toward sentimentality and self-consciousness, McDermott sculpts her small story with a meticulous eye for the telling detail and transcendent metaphor. We know what's coming, but so do the characters — that's part of this tale's bittersweet power." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"This is another charmer from McDermott; it's evocative, gently funny and resonant with a sense of impending loss, as all stories of youthful summers must be. There's a whisper of maudlin sentimentality throughout, but Theresa is so likable, and her observations so acute, that one easily forgives it." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Just as the calm and sparkling sea can conceal a tricky undertow, McDermott's gorgeous novel is laced with sly literary allusions and provocative insights into the enigma of sexual desire, the mutability of art, death's haunting presence, our need for fantasies, and the endless struggle to keep love pure." Donna Seaman, Booklist

Review:

"McDermott is a subtle writer, and so while some novelists might fabricate this welter of teenage emotion out of a consummated affair, McDermott does the opposite....We fear for Theresa, and for girls like her — a fear that doesn?t fully dissipate at the conclusion of McDermott's wise, brilliantly observed novel." John Freeman, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Review:

"McDermott's prose is even and elegant, and the complex character of Theresa offers subtle emotion imbued with haunting prescience." Library Journal

Synopsis:

McDermott's haunting new work — her first since the bestselling Charming Billy, winner of the 1998 National Book Award — is narrated by a woman who was born beautiful. On the cusp of 15, her witty, deeply etched evocation of all that was really transpiring under the surface during a seemingly idyllic season gives her wry tale its remarkable vividness and impact.

Synopsis:

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.

About the Author

Alice McDermott is the author of four previous novels: Charming Billy, winner of the National Book Award in 1998; At Weddings and Wakes; That Night; and A Bigamists

Daughter. She lives with her family outside Washington, D.C.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Deborah Fochler, February 17, 2008 (view all comments by Deborah Fochler)
A very very good book. It is heartwarming, charming, witty, funny and even sad. Not one you will soon forget. I have read it twice and fall in love each time.
A real "sleeper" - sometimes the best books are the ones you hear very little about - such as this one. A true delight. It is the reason I love to read - you never know what character you are going to meet or where you are headed for.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(6 of 13 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312422912
Author:
McDermott, Alice
Publisher:
Picador USA
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
November 2003
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.26 x 5.58 x 0.67 in

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Related Subjects


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

Child of My Heart Used Trade Paper
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$4.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Picador USA - English 9780312422912 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Book after book, Alice McDermott does more with less. "I'm very conscious of trying to make something epic out of something small and ordinary," says the National Book Award winner. Now she gives us Child of My Heart, a deceptively simple story about one fifteen-year-old girl's summer on the east end of Long Island. Like a lot of poetry, McDermott's fifth novel can defined as well by what it omits as by what it presents. Again, McDermott's subtle mechanics transform a traditional story into a fresh new vision of the world.

"Review A Day" by , "This specific, full world, along with McDermott's stringent modesty and moral rigor, allows her to ponder deep contemporary and eternal questions (in her hands they seem to be the same ones) without fuss or bombast....McDermott displays a vibrant romantic hope exactly matched by a realist's awareness of daily devastation." (read the entire Atlantic review)
"Review" by , "There is...something Jamesian about McDermott's style: this novel's craftsmanship and its moral intelligence are as one."
"Review" by , "Though hobbled by a tendency toward sentimentality and self-consciousness, McDermott sculpts her small story with a meticulous eye for the telling detail and transcendent metaphor. We know what's coming, but so do the characters — that's part of this tale's bittersweet power."
"Review" by , "This is another charmer from McDermott; it's evocative, gently funny and resonant with a sense of impending loss, as all stories of youthful summers must be. There's a whisper of maudlin sentimentality throughout, but Theresa is so likable, and her observations so acute, that one easily forgives it."
"Review" by , "Just as the calm and sparkling sea can conceal a tricky undertow, McDermott's gorgeous novel is laced with sly literary allusions and provocative insights into the enigma of sexual desire, the mutability of art, death's haunting presence, our need for fantasies, and the endless struggle to keep love pure."
"Review" by , "McDermott is a subtle writer, and so while some novelists might fabricate this welter of teenage emotion out of a consummated affair, McDermott does the opposite....We fear for Theresa, and for girls like her — a fear that doesn?t fully dissipate at the conclusion of McDermott's wise, brilliantly observed novel."
"Review" by , "McDermott's prose is even and elegant, and the complex character of Theresa offers subtle emotion imbued with haunting prescience."
"Synopsis" by , McDermott's haunting new work — her first since the bestselling Charming Billy, winner of the 1998 National Book Award — is narrated by a woman who was born beautiful. On the cusp of 15, her witty, deeply etched evocation of all that was really transpiring under the surface during a seemingly idyllic season gives her wry tale its remarkable vividness and impact.
"Synopsis" by ,
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.

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