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The Ninth Hour


A crowning achievement of one of the finest American writers at work today.
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Discuss The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott:
The Ninth Hour is as much a series of linked stories as it is one story told chronologically. What do you think of the format?

Created: 09/01/18

Replies: 16

Posted Sep. 01, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1559

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The Ninth Hour is as much a series of linked stories as it is one story told chronologically. What do you think of the format?

The Ninth Hour is as much a series of linked stories as it is one story told chronologically. What do you think of the format?


Posted Sep. 02, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
barbarak

Join Date: 04/22/11

Posts: 24

RE: The Ninth Hour is as much a series of linked stories as it is one story told chronologically. What do you think of the format?

Excellent! The unfolding of characters to tell the story was beautiful!


Posted Sep. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scgirl

Join Date: 06/05/18

Posts: 29

RE: The Ninth Hour is as much a series of linked stories as it is one story told chronologically. What do you think of the format?

I agree, it is intriguing to go back and forth between people's lives. It is like looking into windows and glimpsing the families/people within.


Posted Sep. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susiej

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 162

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RE: The Ninth Hour is as much a series of linked stories as it is one story told chronologically. What do you think of the format?

I loved that this work is told through the use of linked stories. I found it challenging to read - not because this is a rare technique or style unfamiliar to contemporary literature - but more because of McDermott's use of language and her perspective presented within her use of this style. It is not told chronologically, so that the first challenge a reader encounters, but add to that the author's nearly poetic language and the unique vision it creates, and added challenges await the reader. The result, if one is willing to take it on - is beautiful amazement and a shocking reality! I loved it!!


Posted Sep. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lynnw

Join Date: 09/01/11

Posts: 154

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RE: The Ninth Hour is as much a series of linked stories as it is one story told chronologically. What do you think of the format?

The story flowed beautifully. The style enabled you to learn more about the individuals while keeping the stream of the story clear.


Posted Sep. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lois Irene

Join Date: 01/20/16

Posts: 45

RE: The Ninth Hour is as much a series of linked stories as it is one story told chronologically. What do you think of the format?

Some books written in this format are disjointed and confusing. This was beautifully done and I had no difficulty with it. Even the jumps in time are seamless.


Posted Sep. 04, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
AmberH

Join Date: 05/09/18

Posts: 9

RE: The Ninth Hour is as much a series of linked stories as it is one story told chronologically. What do you think of the format?

I felt the flow of this book was very choppy. I enjoy books that are told across different characters and time periods, but this one just didn't work for me. The transitions were unclear and some of the story just didn't seem relevant.
I like the base of the story, but the execution, in my opinion, was faulty.


Posted Sep. 04, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kathleenk

Join Date: 10/31/17

Posts: 7

RE: The Ninth Hour is as much a series of linked stories as it is one story told chronologically. What do you think of the format?

I agree with AmberH; I found this book fragmented and I didn't enjoy it as much as the other book by McDermott that I've read (After This). I also didn't care for the repetition of some scenes/ideas - I know she was probably trying to reinforce some themes throughout the different characters' perspectives, but it felt tiresome in a short book.


Posted Sep. 04, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
louisee

Join Date: 06/29/15

Posts: 88

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RE: The Ninth Hour is as much a series of linked stories as it is one story told chronologically. What do you think of the format?

It took me a while to get used to this style of writing but liked it once I was able to make the connections between the characters in the different time periods. But I think I missed some of the connections.


Posted Sep. 06, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
celiaarnaud

Join Date: 04/18/12

Posts: 41

RE: The Ninth Hour is as much a series of linked stories as it is one story told chronologically. What do you think of the format?

I felt very early on that this book was a collection of linked stories despite being billed as a novel. I’m not a huge short story fan, but I make exceptions for interconnected stories. Once I thought of it as a short story collection, the lack of transitions from one story to the next no longer bothered me. I do feel that some characters didn’t get fleshed out as well as others. The nuns and Sally and Annie seemed to be more fully realized as characters than Patrick.


Posted Sep. 06, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dona

Join Date: 06/03/14

Posts: 14

RE: The Ninth Hour is as much a series of linked stories as it is one story told chronologically. What do you think of the format?

I love the way McDermott builds the reader's involvement and empathy from episode to episode. Very skillfully written, the stories build an effect, unlike many novels that seem to jump from time to time in a formulaic way.


Posted Sep. 06, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cathyoc

Join Date: 04/26/17

Posts: 25

RE: The Ninth Hour is as much a series of linked stories as it is one story told chronologically. What do you think of the format?

The novel did seem a bit choppy as the characters stretched to connect. I found myself wanting to spend more time with some characters and less with others. Although the abruptness of the beginning is certainly unique, it did leave me wanting to find out more about Jim. I valued the bits of information that you gleaned about him as you continued to read.


Posted Sep. 06, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
suelizbeth

Join Date: 01/15/17

Posts: 16

RE: The Ninth Hour is as much a series of linked stories as it is one story told chronologically. What do you think of the format?

I liked the format and as celiaarnaud points out, once you realize it’s actually a series of interconnected short stories, it flows quite easily.


Posted Sep. 07, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
reene

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 311

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RE: The Ninth Hour is as much a series of linked stories as it is one story told chronologically. What do you think of the format?

I found that once I adjusted to the flow of the stories, they were very easy to follow. Using this style of writing was an excellent method to develop the characters over time and their connection to each other. I totally enjoyed The Ninth Hour.


Posted Sep. 09, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Joni

Join Date: 11/04/17

Posts: 12

RE: The Ninth Hour is as much a series of linked stories as it is one story told chronologically. What do you think of the format?

The style took a little getting used to but I ended up enjoying it.


Posted Sep. 10, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paulagb

Join Date: 08/16/17

Posts: 29

RE: The Ninth Hour is as much a series of linked stories as it is one story told chronologically. What do you think of the format?

The structure of the book linking together several stories that are eventually interrelated is an enticing mechanism to draw the reader forward through all the stories. The mechanism requires a more committed reader. Because of automation and so much to read electronically researchers are finding a greater tendency in readers to scan rather than read a book. This kind of mechanism used to structure this novel is interesting and a little more challenging than the average straightforward writing style.


Posted Sep. 11, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
veronicaj

Join Date: 05/25/17

Posts: 9

RE: The Ninth Hour is as much a series of linked stories as it is one story told chronologically. What do you think of the format?

This was my first McDermott book. I found her writing so lovely that I just flowed with the story as she presented it.


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