Make no mistake about it: those looking for sweeping, grandiose plots or white-knuckled suspense should probably look elsewhere than This Is How It Ends
, set in Dublin, Ireland in 2008. MacMahon's debut novel, however, is just about perfect for a quiet read, perhaps wrapped in a sweater and holding a mug of tea on one of the first cool evenings of fall.
It's a quiet novel, after all, one that never shouts its themes or pounds its chest to call attention to itself; readers who settle in to its ambling pace will be rewarded with a carefully crafted, understated emotional novel about love, families, and coming to terms with even the most profound losses.
Addie occupies the grand narrative at the center of MacMahons novel. A woman who looks and even feels young, she is nevertheless starting to cope with the challenges aging parents, envy over her...
Beyond the Book
"Poor old Sarkozy," Addie remarks at one point in This Is How It Ends
. "Poor Angela Merkel. They all seem so dowdy now, by comparison. It's like we all went to the movies in the middle of the afternoon and spent two hours swooning over George Clooney. Then we came home and found the husband sitting on the couch with his beer belly." She's referring to Barack Obama, of course. MacMahon's novel is set during and shortly after the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, and one of the interesting juxtapositions she creates is that within a population increasingly skeptical of Americanization (from economic crises to excess litigation to the horrors of a chilled Guinness) they are still enamored of candidate Obama and all he represents.