After this / Alice McDermott.

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  • Additional Information
    • Edition:
      1st ed.
    • ISBN:
      9780374168094 (hardcover : alk. paper)
      0374168091 (hardcover)
    • LCCN:
      2006005598
    • Accession Number:
      fay.209494

Reviews

Booklist Reviews 2006 July #1

/*Starred Review*/ Word by word, metaphor by metaphor, McDermott writes the most exquisitely perceptive and atmospheric fiction published today. Heir to Woolf and Nabokov, she nets the totality of human consciousness in flawlessly rendered internalized fiction shaped by bemused delight in human nature and an abiding understanding of the rule of opposites: not only do opposites attract, the opposite of what you expect is bound to happen. In her sixth and most commanding novel, National Book Award-winning McDermott continues to till her verdant fictional home ground, Irish-Catholic family life on Long Island, in an extraordinarily refined through-the-decades family saga. The story begins as Mary steps out of church on a wildly windy day at the close of World War II and hurries into a diner, never imagining as she sits at the counter that she will soon marry the stranger beside her and with him raise two sons and two daughters. As their lives unfold, every beautifully rendered occurrence resonates deeply on both personal and social planes, from a tree toppled by a hurricane to quietly hilarious classroom scenes; a premature birth, an abortion, and a high-school pregnancy; a visit to the 1964 World's Fair to see Michelangelo's Pieta; a son serving in Vietnam; and a life-changing college year abroad. Encompassing and radiant, McDermott's breathtaking novel ends as it begins with a church scene and an unexpected marriage. 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. ((Reviewed July 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2006 May #2

While siblings Michael and Annie swing during the Sixties, their big brother heads for Vietnam. With a national tour. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

LJ Reviews 2006 September #1

In her sixth novel, National Book Award winner McDermott (Charming Billy ) continues her examination of the modern Irish American Catholic experience. Through a series of linked vignettes, this quiet story highlights events in the Keane family of Long Island over several decades. John and Mary Keane's somewhat surprising engagement in the late 1940s (both are a little past the usual marrying age) brings about an enduring union. Together, they manage to meet the challenges of raising four children on a limited income, confronting the social and religious struggles of the mid-20th century, and hardest of all losing to the Vietnam War the son they had named for a long-dead World War II soldier. McDermott knows this domestic milieu intimately, and her sure authorial hand illuminates the inner lives of these ordinary people in a way that resonates beyond the mundane to the broad human condition. Recommended for most fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/06.] Starr E. Smith, Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA

[Page 138]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

PW Reviews 2006 June #3

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.)

[Page 37]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.