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Someone: A Novel (2013)

by Alice McDermott

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8296618,382 (4)74
"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.
  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 Ninth Hour: A Novel by Alice McDermott (vancouverdeb)
    vancouverdeb: historical fiction in Brooklyn. The everyday vagaries of life, told in beautiful language. Both books feature Irish Catholics and tragedy mixed with hope.
  5. 00
    Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (tandah)
  6. 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.
  7. 00
    The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields (tandah)

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» See also 74 mentions

English (60)  French (3)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (65)
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
A touching read of one American family, written so you could truly enter a particular time and place in history. ( )
  viviennestrauss | Jun 21, 2020 |
Marie Commerford comes into the story as a child as we follow her into old age. Her life is ordinary as well as extraordinary as we follow along through ups and downs of her life. ( )
  janismack | Jul 16, 2019 |
I really enjoyed this slim novel of a complete life. Oddly, I found the main character, Marie, seemingly to be the least developed of all of the characters. However, I enjoyed the people orbiting her life; her father with a Speakeasy habit, a brother destined to academic greatness only to find life getting in the way; suitors who surprise and disappoint, even neighborhood people who pop in and out of the story but leave a mark, however big. This is due to McDermott's writing style, sparse yet complex, and her command of detail. ( )
  Oregonpoet | Jul 12, 2019 |
Beautiful book about the ethnic neighborhood . A woman who marries a guy and lives a sort of hook loses out life . Sad and touching.
  JoshSapan | May 29, 2019 |
Unforgettable ( )
  Faradaydon | May 2, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 60 (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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