The Ninth Hour

The Ninth Hour

Book - 2017
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Baker & Taylor
A portrait of the Irish-American experience is presented through the story of an Irish immigrant's suicide and how it reverberates through innumerable lives in early 20th-century Catholic Brooklyn. By the National Book Award-winning author of Charming Billy.

McMillan Palgrave

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

A magnificent new novel from one of America’s finest writersa powerfully affecting story spanning the twentieth century of a widow and her daughter and the nuns who serve their Irish-American community in Brooklyn.

On a dim winter afternoon, a young Irish immigrant opens the gas taps in his Brooklyn tenement. He is determined to prove—to the subway bosses who have recently fired him, to his pregnant wife—“that the hours of his life belong to himself alone.” In the aftermath of the fire that follows, Sister St. Savior, an aging nun appears, unbidden, to direct the way forward for his widow and his unborn child.

We begin deep inside Catholic Brooklyn, in the early part of the twentieth century. Decorum, superstition, and shame collude to erase the man’s brief existence. Yet his suicide, although never spoken of, reverberates through many lives and over the decades testing the limits and the demands of love and sacrifice, of forgiveness and forgetfulness, even through multiple generations.

The characters we meet, from Sally, the unborn baby at the beginning of the novel, who becomes the center of the story to the nuns whose personalities we come to know and love to the neighborhood families with whose lives they are entwined, are all rendered with extraordinary sympathy and McDermott’s trademark lucidity and intelligence. Alice McDermott’s The Ninth Hour is a crowning achievement by one of the premiere writers at work in America today.



Baker
& Taylor

A portrait of the Irish-American experience is presented through the story of an Irish immigrant's suicide and how it reverberates through innumerable lives in early twentieth-century Catholic Brooklyn.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780374280147
9780374712174
Branch Call Number: FICTION MCDERMOTT 2017
Characteristics: pages cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

McDermott, a National Book Award winner and Pulitzer finalist, returns with a historical novel about the Irish American experience spanning the twentieth century.


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ontherideau Jun 01, 2018

These nuns were feminists in their own way, seemingly subservient but accomplishing goals in their sisterhood. There are likely people alive today because of care given to a grandmother long ago by a nun- and at no cost to the health care system.

DBRL_ANNEG May 31, 2018

Quiet little novel that follows an Irish-American widow and her daughter and the nuns who helped them get by in the early years of 20th century Brooklyn. The story, heavily wrapped in the Catholicism of the time, reminded me some of the book "Brooklyn" by Colm Toibin, though it was a little less dreary. Readers who enjoy stories told from multiple perspectives will want to check this one out.

p
posie12
Mar 25, 2018

I found the book a compelling read. The work of the nursing nuns interesting, but their motivation and personalities are often not what you would expect.

m
Margush
Jan 31, 2018

Couldn't get past first 20 pages telling about the same event over and over again. Gloomy and depressing read.

Nicr Nov 20, 2017

In the early twentieth century, a young man commits suicide, leaving his pregnant wife to support herself by laboring in the laundry of a convent. McDermott's novel vividly recounts the lives of Annie, her very interesting daughter Sally, their neighbors, and the nuns who help raise Sally and serve their Irish-American community. Seamless and absorbing, with an evocative use of "we" as the narrative voice. McDermott is a master of this material.

g
geordie18
Oct 12, 2017

I was totally immersed in this novel. It was a fascinating tale, in which nuns were presented as real people. The story of the young widow, Annie, and her daughter Sally was also very compelling. A quiet , contemplative novel, full of feeling.

l
laphampeak
Oct 08, 2017

When I finished this novel I felt a strong sense of satisfaction - not from a light and fun read but satisfaction in reading the author's strong sense of descriptions of place, events, and time. The part in the story that gives account of the basement laundry makes me actually sense, literally, the smell, the sight, and the feeling of being there. This feeling continued throughout. I was drawn in like I was actually living alongside the characters as the author spins an interesting tale.

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