Farrar. Sept. 2013. 240p. ISBN 9780374281090. $25. F
All people are interesting if we only know their story. When readers first meet Marie Commeford, she is seven years old, waiting on the steps for her father to return to their Brooklyn home. From a chance encounter with a hapless neighbor girl that same day to her parents' deaths, through World War II, Marie's first sexual encounter, marriage and children, to her brother's sudden departure from the priesthood, this novel moves from one emotionally rich touch point to the next in a nonlinear narrative that echoes memory itself. Winner of the National Book Award for Charming Billy, novelist McDermott continues to captivate readers by delving into ordinary, daily life with skill and compassion, showing us that we can't always see at the time what will be meaningful in our lives.
VERDICT While McDermott's is a quiet style, fans of her earlier work will be thrilled to come across this simple, bittersweet story that will find appeal among readers of Alice Munro and Ann Patchett. [See Prepub Alert, 3/11/13.]
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