The Ninth Hour
From the National Book Award-winning author comes a luminous, deeply humane novel about three generations of an Irish immigrant family in 1940s and 1950s Brooklyn - for fans of Anne Tyler, Anne Enright and Colm Toibin On a gloomy February afternoon, Jim sends his wife Annie out to do the shopping before dark falls. He seals their meagre apartment, unhooks the gas tube inside the oven, and inhales. Sister St. Saviour, a Little Nursing Sister of the Sick Poor, catches the scent of fire doused with water and hurries to the scene: a gathered crowd, firemen, and the distraught young widow. Moved by the girl's plight, and her unborn child, the wise nun finds Annie work in the convent's laundry - where, in turn, her daughter will grow up amidst the crank of the wringer and the hiss of the iron. In Catholic Brooklyn in the early part of the twentieth century, decorum, superstition and shame collude to erase Jim's brief existence; and yet his suicide, although never mentioned, reverberates through many generations - testing the limits of love and sacrifice, of forgiveness and forgetfulness. In prose of startling radiance and precision, Alice McDermott tells a story that is at once wholly individual and universal in its understanding of the human condition. Rendered with remarkable lucidity and intelligence, The Ninth Hour is the crowning achievement of one of today's finest writers.
From the National Book Award-winning author comes a luminous, deeply humane novel about three generations of an Irish immigrant family in 1940s and 1950s Brooklyn - for fans of Anne Tyler, Anne Enright and Colm Toibin
Short-listed for Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year 2017.
McDermott's highly crafted writing - her poised sentences, finely wrought imagery, intricate structuring and emotionally laden detail - is not just clever, but poignant * Sunday Times * Prose that can feel almost physically radiant ... Any emotional turn brings a chance in light, often imbued with a sense of grace ... McDermott is an extraordinary writer * Sunday Telegraph * Alice McDermott deserves to be far better known in the UK ... In McDermott's stripped-down prose, details as commonplace as a vase of fading lilacs speak volumes, making for a complex portrait that's both particular and universal * Daily Mail * Her wisdom, gently hewn out of the stuff of every day, shines through ... Here is the simple but priceless gift of seeing the beauty of things and knowing that even through pain and loss that beauty will abide and indeed glow brighter the longer we look * The Times * It is easy to fall in love with Alice McDermott's prose. Her endearing details and graceful sentences value the ordinary confusions of day-to-day lives' * Times Literary Supplement * Her sentences know themselves so beautifully: what each has to deliver and how best to do it, within a modicum of space, with minimal fuss * New York Times *
Alice McDermott is the award-winning author of seven previous novels: A Bigamist's Daughter, That Night, At Weddings and Wakes, Charming Billy (winner of the National Book Award 1998), Child of My Heart, After This and Someone (shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2015 and the National Book Critics Circle Award 2014, and longlisted for the National Book Award 2013). She has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize three times, and has also been nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award. She lives with her family outside Washington DC.