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That Nightby Alice McDermott
Synopses & Reviews
The scene of Alice McDermott's brilliantly observed and poignant second novel is suburban Long Island in the sixties. Rick and Sheryl are high school sweethearts abruptly separated by Sheryl's mother when she discovers her daughter is pregnant. Their story is narrated by a neighbor of Sheryl?s who, as a child, watched the progress of Rick and Sheryl?s romance with admiring fascination. As she describes her indelible memories of that night, when Rock came to rescue Sheryl from the prison of her house, she creates a wry, bittersweet elegy for young love, that most intense and unalloyed of human relationships.
"That Night gloriously rejects the notion that this betrayed and bankrupt world can be rendered only in the spare, impersonal prose that has become the standard of so much contemporary fiction, and the result is a slim novel of almost 19th-century richness, a novel that celebrates the life of its suburban world at the same moment that it mourns that world's failures and disappointments." David Leavitt, The New York Times Book Review
"Out of suburban violence and a sense of loss by separation, McDermott has wrought a miracle, one that is enhanced even more in its telling. Her feat is remarkable." Michael J. Bandler, Chicago Tribune
"By mixing up concrete details that anchor her story in a specific time and place with a more lyrical sense of memory and desire, Ms. McDermott has succeeded in writing a novel that possesses the ability to make us remember our own youth and all that has vanished since." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"That Night is voiced with musical economy... McDermott has balanced her book finely between the truth and the sadness of reality." Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times
A beautiful coming-of-age novel that explores miracles, innocence, and the disillusionments of first love from the perspective of one remarkable young girl.
On a warm suburban night, the sound of lawn sprinklers is drowned out by the rumble of hot rods. Suddenly a car careens onto a familys neat front yard, teenage boys spill out brandishing chains and leather, and a young man cries out for the girl he loves. Tonight fathers will pick up snow shovels and rakes to defend their turf, and children will witness a battle fueled by fierce, true love. This is the night they will talk about and remember as the moment everything changed forever.
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