Alice McDermott's masterful novel is a portrait of a working-class American family living through the tumultuous middle decades of the twentieth ...Show synopsisAlice McDermott's masterful novel is a portrait of a working-class American family living through the tumultuous middle decades of the twentieth century. While Michael and Annie Keane taste the alternately intoxicating and bitter fruits of the sexual revolution, their older brother, Jacob, finds himself on the way to Vietnam. Clare, the youngest child, seeks to maintain an almost saintly innocence. As their parents, John and Mary, struggle to uphold the family's framework, the four siblings are destined to experience the challenges and liberties of the 1960s. With McDermott's inimitable understanding and grace, "After This" captures the joy, sorrow, anger and love that underpin, and undermine, what it is to be a family.Hide synopsis
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Description:New. 0374168091 0374168091 From the Publisher On a wild, windy...New. 0374168091 0374168091 From the Publisher 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. The Washington Post-Jane Hamilton McDermott is at the height of her powers here, charging her seemingly ordinary scenes with the possibility of danger, of terror or mystery and, on occasion, radiance. She does so with the lightest touch, with the silkiest humor, and yet at the same time she probes deeply into the moment. And so there is suspense when a professor plies an earnest student with whisky, when the Keane children play with toy soldiers on a windy dune, when a group of college boys argue about Halloween decorations in a bar, when a spinster rides a bus at night. The New York Times-Michiko Kakutani There is no sentimentality to Ms. McDermott's portrait of the Keane family, no romanticizing of their story. Instead, she uses her lyrical, pointillist prose to conjure the homely details of their middle-class life on Long Island: the ordinary pleasures of a family trip to the beach, the aggravations of tending to four squabbling children, the claustrophobia of marital discord where a simple silence can become "a remarkable concoction" of "hurt, impatience, recrimination, blood-red anger, fear, worry"...her easy authority with this material, combined with her clear-eyed sympathy for her characters, results in a moving, old-fashioned story about longing and loss and sorrow. Publishers Weekly 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. ) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. Library Journal 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...
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