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At Weddings and Wakes (1992)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385319851, Paperback)Telling a story through the eyes of children is a tricky business, which is that much more proof of what a magician Alice McDermott happens to be. At Weddings and Wakes, her engrossing portrayal of love and tragedy in an Irish-Catholic family, takes us along with the kids as they accompany their mother on weekly visits to a world of memory and recrimination in the family's old Brooklyn neighborhood. An exquisitely executed little novel that masks all its hard work and complex structure behind finely wrought lace curtains of craft.
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:09 -0400)
Set in the Sixties, McDermott's third novel tells the story of an extended Irish-American family observed primarily through the eyes of the children, a son and two daughters. Time circles backwards and forwards around a variety of family rituals: holiday meals, vacations at the shore, the wedding of a favorite aunt. The poignant middle-aged romance that develops between the aunt, a former nun, and her suitor, a shy mailman, exacerbates already pronounced family tensions. As they listen to oft-repeated stories about poverty, disease, and early deaths, the children are solemn witnesses to the Irish immigrant experience in America. By turns wry and sad, this is McDermott's finest novel to date. Highly recommended.
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