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Songs in Ordinary Time (Oprah's Book Club)


Songs in Ordinary Time (Oprah's Book Club) Cover

ISBN13: 9780140244823
ISBN10: 0140244824
Condition: Standard
All Product Details


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

It's the summer of 1960 in Atkinson, Vermont. Maria Fermoyle is a strong but vulnerable divorced woman whose loneliness and ambition for her children make her easy prey for dangerous con man Omar Duvall. Marie's children are Alice, seventeen — involved with a young priest; Norm, sixteen — hotheaded and idealistic; and Benny, twelve — isolated and misunderstood, and so desperate for his mother's happiness that he hides the deadly truth he knows about Duvall.

We also meet Sam Fermoyle, the children's alcoholic father; Sam's brother-in-law, who makes anonymous "love" calls from the bathroom of his failing appliance store; and the Klubock family, who — in contrast to the Fermoyles — live an orderly life in the house next door.

Songs in Ordinary Time is a masterful epic of the everyday, illuminating the kaleidoscope of lives that tell the compelling story of this unforgettably family.


"A nearly perfect summer book....Songs in Ordinary Time is real life cruising small-town USA with the top down and the volume up. In her graphic, stiletto chapters, Mary McGarry Morris is a cross between Elizabeth Gaskell and David Lynch." Minneapolis Star Tribune


A powerful and gripping novel from the acclaimed author of Vanished and A Dangerous Woman.

About the Author

Mary McGarry Morris is the author of Vanished, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award; A Dangerous Woman, which was chosen by Time as of of the five best novels of 1991; Songs in Ordinary Time, an Oprah's Book Club Selection and national bestseller, and the critically acclaimed Fiona Range and A Hole in the Universe. She lives in Andover, Massachussetts.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

sentina, June 19, 2012 (view all comments by sentina)
Exhausting, but great insight into deeply troubled characters who have been shaped by the Catholic Church and often poverty.

The wonderful title has nothing to do with anything in the book, but I was determined to finish it, hoping that the connection would come and being entranced by the depth of insight into these deeply suffering and disturbed characters -- so much bitterness, anger, suffering, remorse, lack of forgiveness, violence, and occasional caring.

I've never read better descriptions of a manipulative user and how people fall under his spell because of their own dreams ("this was Omar's power... in vying for his affection, each scrutinized the other, but never knew him" and "... hog-tying them with their own fears, hopes, and sins").

The author writes with deep awareness into the minds and behaviors of a hopeless alcoholic, slow-thinking people, the yearning for love even among the "lowliest" of the population, the insanity of the sexual prohibitions and other craziness in the Catholic church, the uselessness of mindless violence, and the emptiness of these people's lives.

But aside from the main characters, the others in the story just sort of fade out, as guess as many people's lives do.

The ending was a relief, but not satisfying, because too many questions were unanswered about characters I came to care about. And there were so many of them, that only a book this long could begin to help the reader remember who they were and make sense of them.

Many of the sentences were long and mind-boggling, but represented the way people's minds can be overwhelmed with their thoughts.

Some phrases I really liked were:

The alcoholic finds himself "festering with so many of these amnesiac violations and humiliations.. like being stalked by his own maniacal twin."

After a young woman succumbs to the sexual advances of a young priest, whom the Church considers mentally ill for giving in to his sexual urges, her mother speaks of "the vile one-sidedness of sex with the humiliation and suffering it caused a woman."

About living in fear with secret thoughts or behaviors: "... this fragile duality: the devastating fear that everyone knew and the desperate need to believe that no one did."
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sttrudi316, November 19, 2011 (view all comments by sttrudi316)
I could not put this book down. The author draws you in with details about each character, until you feel as though you live among them. The saddest hour was when I read the last page...because the book was no more. So now I am reading more of Mary Mcgarry Morris.
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Product Details

Morris, Mary McGarry
Penguin Books
Hoffman, Alice
Tolle, Eckhart
Oates, Joyce Carol
Mitchard, Jacquelyn
Reynolds, Sheri
New York, N.Y., U.S.A. :
Mystery & Detective - General
Divorced women
Mystery & detective
Problem families
Domestic fiction
Vermont Fiction.
Family saga
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Oprah's Book Club (Paperback)
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 12
7.77x5.05x1.33 in. 1.11 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

Songs in Ordinary Time (Oprah's Book Club) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$2.95 In Stock
Product details 752 pages Penguin (Non-Classics) - English 9780140244823 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A nearly perfect summer book....Songs in Ordinary Time is real life cruising small-town USA with the top down and the volume up. In her graphic, stiletto chapters, Mary McGarry Morris is a cross between Elizabeth Gaskell and David Lynch."
"Synopsis" by , A powerful and gripping novel from the acclaimed author of Vanished and A Dangerous Woman.
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