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Someone by Alice McDermott


by Alice McDermott

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5634917,691 (4.05)61
  1. 20
    Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín (Ciruelo)
  2. 10
    Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt (Betty.Ann.Beam)
    Betty.Ann.Beam: They both deal with the Irish immigrant experience. I would suggest that you read Angela's Ashes first since Someone is rather difficult to decifer and may take several readings. Brooklyn by Colm Toibin is also in the same vein. They are all stories that bely tne American Dream.… (more)
  3. 00
    A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler (zhejw)
  4. 00
    The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields (tandah)
  5. 00
    We are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas (Ciruelo)
    Ciruelo: Both books relate the life story of an Irish American woman in plain, but exceptionally well written language.
  6. 00
    Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (tandah)

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English (45)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (49)
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
We first glimpse Marie Commeford as a child, observing her pre-Depression world from a Brooklyn stoop. The magic lies in how the events that follow reveal us all to be fools, dreamers, blinded in one way or another by hope or loss or the exigencies of life and heartbreak leads to her career as a funeral director's "consoling angel"; her delicate brother's brief time as a Catholic priest occasions her happy marriage and the birth of her children; the gestures of her young life reverberate in the griefs and the triumphs of her old age. ( )
  jepeters333 | May 1, 2016 |
I liked this book so much, reminded me a little in it's simplicity to the book Brooklyn by Colm Toibin. It's simply reflections of a young girl growing up in the early 1940's and beyond with her Irish family in Brooklyn. Who is that "Someone" finally? ( )
  Judy_Ryfinski | Jan 20, 2016 |
I liked this book so much, reminded me a little in it's simplicity to the book Brooklyn by Colm Toibin. It's simply reflections of a young girl growing up in the early 1940's and beyond with her Irish family in Brooklyn. Who is that "Someone" finally? ( )
  Judy_Ryfinski | Jan 20, 2016 |
McDermott is a gifted storyteller with an understated tone. She takes the ordinary and mundane and turns it into a wonderful tale. Such a quiet and loving book. (recommended by Diane Rehm) ( )
  cjservis | Jan 17, 2016 |
McDermott's novel, Someone, is indeed about ordinary people. The insight she gives us and as expressed by another reviewer, is how "ordinary people who fill our youth, adolescence and adulthood impact our ordinary existence." I would take this a step further and say that Marie's choice to constrain her life within the geographic and cultural parameters of her childhood limits her experiences, yet these self-imposed limits offer the opportunity to mine each to its maximum benefit. In contrast to a life of adventure, travel and experimentation, Marie's life, the natural expression of a generation succeeding her parents, is predictable .. the only change being that brought on by technology or a new era. The experience of Pegeen's death early on in Marie's life is processed and interpreted differently as Marie progresses in her various life stages; it is experienced differently from the lens of life lived. The novel for me is testimony of how change is manifested in the progression of generations, yet there is that constancy: "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" —"the more things change, the more they stay the same"
( )
  morieel | Oct 25, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
There are many reasons to write a novel.

One — maybe the best — is to bear compassionate witness to what it is to be alive, in this place, this time. This kind of novel is necessary to us. We need to know about other lives: This kind of knowledge expands our understanding, it enlarges our souls. There are differences between us, but there are things we share. Fear and vulnerability, joy and passion, the capacity for love and pain and grief: Those are common to us all. Those are the things that great novelists explore. And it’s this exploration, made with tenderness, wisdom and caritas, that’s at the heart of Alice McDermott’s masterpiece.
Each slide, each scene, from the ostensibly inconsequential to the clearly momentous, is illuminated with equal care. The effect on the reader is of sitting alongside the narrator, sharing the task of sifting the salvaged fragments of her life, watching her puzzle over, rearrange and reconsider them — and at last, but without any particular urgency or certitude, tilting herself in the direction of finally discerning their significance.

This is a quiet business, but it’s the sense-making we all engage in, the narrative work that allows us to construct a coherent framework for our everyday existence. It’s also a serious business, the essential work of an examined life.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374281092, Hardcover)

A fully realized portrait of one woman’s life in all its complexity, by the National Book Award–winning author

An ordinary life—its sharp pains and unexpected joys, its bursts of clarity and moments of confusion—lived by an ordinary woman: this is the subject of Someone, Alice McDermott’s extraordinary return, seven years after the publication of After This. Scattered recollections—of childhood, adolescence, motherhood, old age—come together in this transformative narrative, stitched into a vibrant whole by McDermott’s deft, lyrical voice.
     Our first glimpse of Marie is as a child: a girl in glasses waiting on a Brooklyn stoop for her beloved father to come home from work. A seemingly innocuous encounter with a young woman named Pegeen sets the bittersweet tone of this remarkable novel. Pegeen describes herself as an “amadan,” a fool; indeed, soon after her chat with Marie, Pegeen tumbles down her own basement stairs. The magic of McDermott’s novel lies in how it reveals us all as fools for this or that, in one way or another.
     Marie’s first heartbreak and her eventual marriage; her brother’s brief stint as a Catholic priest, subsequent loss of faith, and eventual breakdown; the Second World War; her parents’ deaths; the births and lives of Marie’s children; the changing world of her Irish-American enclave in Brooklyn—McDermott sketches all of it with sympathy and insight. This is a novel that speaks of life as it is daily lived; a crowning achievement by one of the finest American writers at work today.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:17 -0400)

"The story of a Brooklyn-born woman's life - her family, her neighborhood, her daily trials and triumphs - from childhood to old age"--Provided by the publisher.

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