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A portrait of the Irish-American experience in the 1940s and 1950s, by the National Book Award-winning authorOn 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 belong to himself alone." In the aftermath of the fire that follows, Sister St. Savior, an aging nun, a Little 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, although 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.



About the Author

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott (born June 27, 1953) is an American writer and university professor. For her 1998 novel Charming Billy she won an American Book Award and the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction.

McDermott is Johns Hopkins University's Richard A. Macksey Professor of the Humanities.
Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photo by Wes Washington (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) ], via Wikimedia Commons.



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