BookBrowse Reviews The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott

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The Ninth Hour

A Novel

by Alice McDermott

The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott X
The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2017, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 4, 2018, 256 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts

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A powerfully affecting story spanning the twentieth century of a widow and her daughter and the nuns who serve their Irish-American community in Brooklyn.

In a pivotal scene in The Ninth Hour, young Sally encounters an increasingly loathsome series of degenerates on an ill-fated train ride across the country. She is beset on all sides by horrors: "Pale, sleeping faces with gaping, distorted mouths, sprawled limbs, a hollow-eyed soldier...a yellow-skinned man folding into himself, gazing forward with a murderous look. A young woman in a jaunty hat, chewing gum ferociously, reading a magazine, picking her nose." The protagonist is traveling from New York to Chicago to join a convent, but is suddenly faced with an existential crisis: Is this the humanity to whom she's meant to devote herself? This theme, of religion as a necessary balm in a world plagued by pain and misery, resonates throughout Alice McDermott's new novel.

In early twentieth century Brooklyn, Sally's mother is employed in the laundry for the Little Nursing ...

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