Awards: National Book Award Nominee for Fiction (2013), Dayton Literary Peace Prize Nominee for Fiction (2014), National Book Critics Circle Award Nominee for Fiction (2013), International Dublin Literary Award Nominee for Shortlist (2015)
Genres: fiction, novels, contemporary, adult, literature
Format: hardcover, 232 pages
Author: Alice McDermott
ISBN: 9780374281090 (0374281092)
Release date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Characters: Marie Commeford
About The Book
An ordinary life — its sharp pains and unexpected joys, its bursts of clarity and moments of confusion — lived by an ordinary woman: this is the subject of Someone, Alice McDermott’s extraordinary return, seven years after the publication of After This. Scattered recollections — of childhood, adolescence, motherhood, old age — come together in this transformative narrative, stitched into a vibrant whole by McDermott’s deft, lyrical voice.
Our first glimpse of Marie is as a child: a girl in glasses waiting on a Brooklyn stoop for her beloved father to come home from work. A seemingly innocuous encounter with a young woman named Pegeen sets the bittersweet tone of this remarkable novel. Pegeen describes herself as an “amadan,” a fool; indeed, soon after her chat with Marie, Pegeen tumbles down her own basement stairs. The magic of McDermott’s novel lies in how it reveals us all as fools for this or that, in one way or another.
Marie’s first heartbreak and her eventual marriage; her brother’s brief stint as a Catholic priest, subsequent loss of faith, and eventual breakdown; the Second World War; her parents’ deaths; the births and lives of Marie’s children; the changing world of her Irish-American enclave in Brooklyn — McDermott sketches all of it with sympathy and insight. This is a novel that speaks of life as it is daily lived; a crowning achievement by one of the finest American writers at work today.
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