Laurie Blum, October 31, 2007 (view all comments by Laurie Blum)
I have read all of the National Book Award-winning novels by Alice McDermott and am just as mesmorized with her 6th book "After This." It tells the heartbreaking story of an Irish-Catholic family who is strugging to deal with the challenging after effects of the Vietnam War.... a moving chronicle of the shattering realities of such loss experienced ... very emotional saga with many excellent issues for discussion. The Keane Family characters will crawl into your very soul!
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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.
On a wild, windy April day in Manhattan, when Mary first meets John Keane, she cannot know what lies ahead of her. A marriage, a fleeting season of romance, and the birth of four children will bring John and Mary to rest in the safe embrace of a traditional Catholic life in the suburbs. But neither Mary nor John, distracted by memories and longings, can feel the wind that is buffeting their children, leading them in directions beyond their parents control. Michael and his sister Annie are caught up in the sexual revolution. Jacob, brooding and frail, is drafted to Vietnam. And the youngest, Clare, commits a stunning transgression after a childhood spent pleasing her parents. As John and Mary struggle to hold on to their family and their faith, Alice McDermott weaves an elegant, unforgettable portrait of a world in flux-and of the secrets and sorrows, anger and love, that lie at the heart of every family.
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