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Ninth Hour (audiobook)

By McDermott, Alice

Read by Euan Morton

8.70 hrs • 7 CDs • Unabridged


Release Date: 10/01/2017

© 2017 by Random House

ISBN No : 9781427289193

customer reviews




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 badgering, pregnant wife―that “the hours of his life belonged to himself alone.” In the aftermath of the fire that follows, Sister St. Saviour, an aging nun, a Little Nursing Sister of the Sick Poor, appears, unbidden, to direct the way forward for his widow and his unborn child.

In Catholic Brooklyn in the early part of the twentieth century, decorum, superstition, and shame collude to erase the man’s brief existence, and yet his suicide, though never spoken of, reverberates through many lives―testing the limits and the demands of love and sacrifice, of forgiveness and forgetfulness, even through multiple generations. Rendered with remarkable delicacy, heart, and intelligence, Alice McDermott’s The Ninth Hour is a crowning achievement of one of the finest American writers at work today.


"In this enveloping, emotionally intricate, suspenseful drama, McDermott lures readers into her latest meticulously rendered Irish American enclave. . . Like Alice Munro, McDermott is profoundly observant and mischievously witty, a sensitive and consummate illuminator of the realization of the self, the ravages of illness and loss, and the radiance of generosity. . . McDermott’s extraordinary precision, compassion, and artistry are entrancing and sublime. . . This is one of literary master McDermott’s most exquisite works." ―Donna Seaman, Booklist, starred review

“Everything that her readers, the National Book Award committee, and the Pulitzer Prize judges love about McDermottt’s stories of Irish-Catholic American life is back.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review

One of Publishers Weekly’s Top 10 Literary Fiction Picks for Fall 2017

Excerpted in The New Yorker



“McDermott has the soul of an archaeologist―excavating shards of the daily routine, closely examining the cracks and crevices of the human heart.” ―Magazine

“Exquisite. . . deft. . . filled with so much universal experience, such haunting imagery, such urgent matters of life and death.” ―The New York Times

“Packed with complexity and emotion” ―The Washington Post

“Filled with subtle insights and abundant empathy and grace.” ―USA Today

“Lyrical study of quotidian life. . . McDermott manages to write lyrically in plain language, she is able to find the drama in uninflected experience.” ―Los Angeles Times

“With virtuosic concision, McDermott assembles this swirl of seemingly mundane anecdotes into a powerful examination of love, mortality, and ‘the way of all flesh.’” ―The New Yorker

"The micropoetry elevates the book from a gently story to a multilayered Our Town-like tale.” ―People

“Each slide, each scene, from the ostensibly inconsequential to the clearly momentous, is illuminated with equal care.” ―The New York Times Book Review

“The landscape of memory is a chiaroscuro in motion.” ―Boston Globe

“That’s the spectacular power of McDermott’s writing: Without ever putting on literary airs, she reveals to us what’s distinct about characters who don’t have the ego or eloquence to make a case for themselves as being anything special.” ―Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air, NPR

“Extraordinary art woven out of ordinary lives.” ―The Quivering Pen

“Gripping and resonant. . . In her own way, she achieves as much as the dazzling, muscular ‘hysterical realists.’ For she manages to break all the basic rules of writing―only quietly.” ―NPR

“Almost without exception, each moment . . . is so thoroughly mined so that every story, nearly every thought it seems, reveals the true complexity of our lives.” ―The Coffin Factory

“[McDermott] is a sublime artist of the quotidian.” ―San Francisco Chronicle

“In beautifully understated language and an unerringly nimble free-associative narrative, McDermott weaves such an intimate complex life study that we feel each . . . accumulating loss until they become staggering.” ―Elle

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