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The Ninth Hour
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Alice McDermott
The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott at Abbey's Bookshop,

The Ninth Hour

Alice McDermott



Fiction & Literature;
Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945);
Historical fiction


256 pages

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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 Toiban.

On a gloomy day in February, 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- firemen, a gathered crowd and a distraught young widow, who is with child. Moved by Annie 's plight, the kindly nun finds her work in the convent 's laundry, and Annie 's baby daughter grows up amidst the crank of the wringer, the hiss of the iron, the reminiscences of Sister Illuminata and the games of Sister Jeanne. Yet what will become of this convent child' Will Sally join the women who raised her in their unending efforts to alleviate Brooklyn's poverty and sickness.

Tracing three generations of an Irish immigrant family, The Ninth Hour tells, in prose of startling radiance and piercing precision, a story that is both individual and universal in its understanding of the human condition. Meditating on fairness, faith, sacrifice, duty and love, it illuminates, with the depth and sensitivity for which Alice McDermott is known, the bonds that unite or divide us.

By:   Alice McDermott
Imprint:   Bloomsbury
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   Export/Airside
Dimensions:   Height: 216mm,  Width: 135mm, 
Weight:   282g
ISBN:   9781408854617
ISBN 10:   1408854619
Pages:   256
Publication Date:   October 2017
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

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.

Dealing in simple lives and small dramas, the prose displays an unerring sense of detail, mood, and emotion. A masterful American writer at her best -- Jeffrey Burke * Mail on Sunday * She is a poet of corporeal description ... It's the way she marries the spirit to the physical world that make her work transcendent. The Ninth Hour is a story with the simple grace of a votive candle in a dark church -- Sarah Begley * Time * Superb and masterful ... Powerful and sublime ... Her sentences burn on the page * Washington Post * 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 * Ms. McDermott has once again managed a marvellous literary feat * Wall Street Journal * A tour de force ... McDermott is a virtuoso of language and image, allusion and reflection, reference and symbol ... McDermott once again demonstrates her expansively attentive literary care and its quiet power ... Reminds us of the pleasures of literary fiction and its power to illuminate lives and worlds * Boston Globe * Another exquisite novel in which those who at first appear unremarkable - in this case, nuns in early-20th-century Brooklyn - are revealed as heroines, unflinching in their devotion to the flawed humans around them -- O Magazine

  • Short-listed for Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year 2017
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