Alice McDermotts powerful novel is a vivid portrait of an
American family in the middle decades of the twentieth century. Witty,
compassionate, and wry, it captures the social, political, and
spiritual upheavals of those decades through the experiences of a
middle-class couple, their four children, and the changing worlds in
which they live.
While Michael and Annie Keane taste the
alternately intoxicating and bitter first fruits of the sexual
revolution, their older, more tentative brother, Jacob, lags behind,
until he finds himself on the way to Vietnam. Meanwhile, Clare, the
youngest child of their aging parents, seeks to maintain an almost
saintly innocence. After This, alive with the passions and
tragedies of a determining era in our history, portrays the clash of
traditional, faith-bound life and modern freedom, while also capturing,
with McDermotts inimitable understanding and grace, the joy, sorrow,
anger, and love that underpin, and undermine, what it is to be a
It's a mistake to rush a McDermott novel because in doing so you might miss the little details that make the whole thing worthwhile - the fleeting thoughts and gestures that are her forte, and the the apparently trivial events - the sort that are rarely recorded in the photo album but are the bedrock of every family life. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
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.
The New York Times - Michiko Kakutani
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.
McDermott knows this domestic milieu intimately, and her sure authorial hand illuminates the inner lives of these ordinary people in a way that resonates beyond the mundane to the broad human condition.
A disarmingly understated tale....McDermott infuses the undulating plot with the knowledge that lives become most vivid in small moments of connection...genuinely moving yet amorphous, like a remembered fragrance that you can't quite place.
Starred Review. McDernott flawlessly encapsulates an era in the private moments of one family's life.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by judy very disappointed I was very excited when this book became available at my local library. It had been on my "must read" list for sometime so it was with great anticipation that I began to read. I found the book boring and the characters uninteresting. If... Read More
Rated of 5
by jill carmel After This by Alice McDermott I was disappointed after reading Charming Billy -I thought this one would be just as good.
Alice McDermott was born in Brooklyn,
New York in 1953. Her first novel, A
Bigamists' Daughter, was published
to wide acclaim in 1982. That Night
(1987) was a finalist for the Pulitzer
Prize and the National Book Award. At
Weddings and Wakes (1992) was a
New York Times bestseller.
Charming Billy (1998), won the
National Book Award.
Child of My Heart followed in
She received her B.A. in 1975 from the
State University of New York at Oswego,
and her M.A. in 1978 from the University
of New Hampshire. She has taught at the
University of California at San Diego
and American University, has been a
writer-in-residence at Lynchburg and
Hollins Colleges in Virginia, and was
lecturer in English at the University of
New Hampshire. Her short...
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