“Alice McDermott carefully builds a world and a story that leads to an act of love so unexpected it will leave you lingering over the final page, wondering how she pulled it off.”
Featured in NPR’s Book Concierge Great Reads of 2017.
“In McDermott’s novel, the cause of a young Irish widow and her daughter is taken up by the nuns of a Brooklyn convent.”
Featured in New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2017.
“In the early 20th century, a young immigrant’s suicide casts his pregnant wife and future daughter into the care of nuns in Brooklyn.”
Featured in Washington Post’s 50 Notable Fiction Books of 2017.
The Ninth Hour by one of America’s writers, Alice McDermott, is a powerful and mesmerizing story of a widow, her daughter and the nuns who serve their Irish-American community in Brooklyn.
This story begins on a cold winter after in Brooklyn in the early part of the twentieth century. It is a tale of the limits and the demands of love and sacrifice and of forgiveness and forgetfulness.
A young Irish immigrant sets out to prove “that the hours of his life belong to himself alone.” And so he opens the gas taps in his tenement.
His action have dire consequences. Yet still, in the aftermath of the fire that follows, the aging nun, Sister St. Savior helps direct the way forward for his widow and his unborn child.
The young Irish man’s suicide and the effects of it are deeply embedded in many lives and over the decades, the tremor is its impact are felt by multiple generations.
Sally, the unborn baby affected by her father’s action at the beginning of the novel becomes the center of the story. Her journey intertwines with that of the nuns, lovely characters whose personalities reads will come to know and love and that of neighborhood families.
The story is told with extraordinary sympathy and McDermott’s trademark lucidity and intelligence. And therefore, it is completely gripping in the intensity of emotions felt from reading its pages.
The book and its author have received many recognitions since its release, including:
— Finalist for National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction
— New York Times Book Review’s 100 Notable Books of 2017
— The Washington Post’s 50 Notable Works of Fiction 2017
— The Wall Street Journal’s Top 10 Novels of 2017
— Time Magazine’s Top 10 Novels of 2017
— NPR’s Best Books of 2017
— Kirkus Reviews’ Best Fiction & Best Historical Fiction of 2017
— Library Journal’s Top 10 Novels of 2017
— Barnes & Noble’s 25 Best Fiction Books of 2017