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Someone: A Novel
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Published:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2013
Lexile measure:
1010L
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Description

A fully realized portrait of one woman's life in all its complexity, by the National Book Award-winning author



An ordinary life—its sharp pains and unexpected joys, its bursts of clarity and moments of confusion—lived by an ordinary woman: this is the subject of Someone, Alice McDermott's extraordinary return, seven years after the publication of After This. Scattered recollections—of childhood, adolescence, motherhood, old age—come together in this transformative narrative, stitched into a vibrant whole by McDermott's deft, lyrical voice.


Our first glimpse of Marie is as a child: a girl in glasses waiting on a Brooklyn stoop for her beloved father to come home from work. A seemingly innocuous encounter with a young woman named Pegeen sets the bittersweet tone of this remarkable novel. Pegeen describes herself as an "amadan," a fool; indeed, soon after her chat with Marie, Pegeen tumbles down her own basement stairs. The magic of McDermott's novel lies in how it reveals us all as fools for this or that, in one way or another.


Marie's first heartbreak and her eventual marriage; her brother's brief stint as a Catholic priest, subsequent loss of faith, and eventual breakdown; the Second World War; her parents' deaths; the births and lives of Marie's children; the changing world of her Irish-American enclave in Brooklyn—McDermott sketches all of it with sympathy and insight. This is a novel that speaks of life as it is daily lived; a crowning achievement by one of the finest American writers at work today.



A Publishers Weekly Best Fiction Book of the Year



A Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Book of 2013


A New York Times Notable Book of 2013


A Washington Post Notable Fiction Book of 2013


An NPR Best Book of 2013



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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
09/10/2013
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781429969420
ASIN:
B00CQYBA84
Lexile measure:
1010
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Alice McDermott. (2013). Someone: A Novel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Alice McDermott. 2013. Someone: A Novel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Alice McDermott, Someone: A Novel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Alice McDermott. Someone: A Novel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 19:21:47
Date Updated:
Dec 06, 2020 02:49:10
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      • bioText: Alice McDermott is the author of several novels, including The Ninth Hour; Someone; After This; Child of My Heart; Charming Billy, winner of the 1998 National Book Award; and At Weddings and Wakes—all published by FSG. That Night, At Weddings and Wakes, and After This were all finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. Her stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, and elsewhere. For more than two decades she was the Richard A. Macksey Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University and a member of the faculty at the Sewanee Writers Conference. McDermott lives with her family outside Washington, D.C.
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fullDescription

A fully realized portrait of one woman's life in all its complexity, by the National Book Award-winning author



An ordinary life—its sharp pains and unexpected joys, its bursts of clarity and moments of confusion—lived by an ordinary woman: this is the subject of Someone, Alice McDermott's extraordinary return, seven years after the publication of After This. Scattered recollections—of childhood, adolescence, motherhood, old age—come together in this transformative narrative, stitched into a vibrant whole by McDermott's deft, lyrical voice.


Our first glimpse of Marie is as a child: a girl in glasses waiting on a Brooklyn stoop for her beloved father to come home from work. A seemingly innocuous encounter with a young woman named Pegeen sets the bittersweet tone of this remarkable novel. Pegeen describes herself as an "amadan," a fool; indeed, soon after her chat with Marie, Pegeen tumbles down her own basement stairs. The magic of McDermott's novel lies in how it reveals us all as fools for this or that, in one way or another.


Marie's first heartbreak and her eventual marriage; her brother's brief stint as a Catholic priest, subsequent loss of faith, and eventual breakdown; the Second World War; her parents' deaths; the births and lives of Marie's children; the changing world of her Irish-American enclave in Brooklyn—McDermott sketches all of it with sympathy and insight. This is a novel that speaks of life as it is daily lived; a crowning achievement by one of the finest American writers at work today.



A Publishers Weekly Best Fiction Book of the Year



A Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Book of 2013


A New York Times Notable Book of 2013


A Washington Post Notable Fiction Book of 2013


An NPR Best Book of 2013



gradeLevels
      • value: Grade 6
      • value: Grade 7
      • value: Grade 8
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Beth Kephart, The Baltimore Sun
      • content: "There is the temptation, after reading Alice McDermott, to read nothing else for the longest time--to hold every exquisite word of her most exquisite novels in your head . . . That she exercises patience, compassion and wisdom where others emphasize strut, that she trusts herself with the power of scenes over the inflated intricacies of complicated plot. There is the temptation to use the word 'genius' in association with McDermott's name."
      • premium: False
      • source: Los Angeles Times Book Review
      • content: "[A] wondrous new novel . . . Child of My Heart extends [McDermott's] artistic triumphs, and we should rejoyce."
      • premium: False
      • source: Anna Quindlen
      • content: "A master . . . As good as any literary novelist writing today, and when I say that I include the big guns: Russell Banks, Philip Roth, Toni Morrison . . . All [McDermott's] books mirror the essential truths of existence so sure-handedly that they are neither comedies nor tragedies, but merely true."
      • premium: False
      • source: The New York Times Book Review
      • content: "Has something classic about it . . . [Its] craftsmanship and its moral intelligence are as one . . . Immaculate."
      • premium: False
      • source: Margaret Atwood, The New York Review of Books
      • content: "Richly textured, intricately woven . . . A work not only of, but about, the imagination."
      • premium: False
      • source: People
      • content: "In a league of her own."
      • premium: False
      • source: Chicago Tribune
      • content: "We have echoes and stirrings of Hardy, Shakespeare, Dickens, James, Beatrix Potter, Christina Rosetti . . . [Theresa] is a vessel containing a multitude of heroines, a transcendence of ethereal beauties who loved and live in the minds of their readers and inventors."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Charlotte Observer
      • content: "[A] quietly enchanting novel, graced by McDermott's well-calibrated writing and observant eye . . . Filled with subtle truths and hard-won wisdom."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from June 17, 2013
        In this deceptively simple tour de force, McDermott (Charming Billy, winner of the National Book Award) lays bare the keenly observed life of Marie Commeford, an ordinary woman whose compromised eyesight makes her both figuratively and literally unable to see the world for what it is. When we meet her on the steps of her Brooklyn townhouse, she’s a bespectacled seven-year-old waiting for her father; McDermott then leaps ahead, when Marie, pregnant with her first child, recalls collapsing at a deli counter and the narrative plunges us into a world where death is literally just around the corner, upending the safety and comfort of her neighborhood; “In a few months’ time, I would be at death’s door, last rites and all,” she relates. We follow Marie through the milestones of her life, shadowed by her elder brother, Gabe, who mysteriously leaves the priesthood for which everyone thought he was destined. The story of Marie’s life unfolds in a nonlinear fashion: McDermott describes the loss of Marie’s father, her first experience with intimacy, her first job (in a funeral parlor of all places), her marriage, the birth of a child. We come to feel for this unremarkable woman, whose vulnerability makes her all the more winning—and makes her worthy of our attention. And that’s why McDermott, a three-time Pulitzer nominee, is such an exceptional writer: in her hands, an uncomplicated life becomes singularly fascinating, revealing the heart of a woman whose defeats make us ache and whose triumphs we cheer. Marie’s vision (and ours) eventually clears, and she comes to understand that what she so often failed to see lay right in front of her eyes. Agent: Sarah Burnes, Gernert Company.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from April 15, 2013
        McDermott's brief seventh novel (Child of My Heart, 2002, etc.) follows seven decades of a Brooklyn woman's modest life to create one of the author's most trenchant explorations into the heart and soul of the 20th-century Irish-American family. Sitting on the stoop of her apartment building, 7-year-old Marie watches her 1920s Brooklyn neighborhood through the thick glasses she already wears--her ability to see or missee those around her is one of the novel's overriding metaphors. She revels in the stories of her neighbors, from the tragedy of Billy Corrigan, blinded in the war, to the great romance of the Chebabs' Syrian-Irish marriage. Affectionately nicknamed the "little pagan" in contrast to her studious, spiritual older brother Gabe, Marie feels secure and loved within her own family despite her occasional battles of will against her mother. Cozy in their narrow apartment, her parents are proud that Marie's father has a white-collar job as a clerk, and they have great hopes for Gabe, who is soon off to seminary to study for the priesthood. Marie's Edenic childhood shatters when her adored father dies. In fact, death is never far from the surface of these lives, particularly since Maries works as a young woman with the local undertaker, a job that affords many more glimpses into her neighbors and more storytelling. By then, Gabe has left the priesthood, claiming it didn't suit him and that his widowed mother needs him at home. Is he a failure or a quiet saint? After her heart is broken by a local boy who dumps her for a richer girl, Marie marries one of Gabe's former parishioners, has children and eventually moves away from the neighborhood. Gabe remains. Marie's straightforward narration is interrupted with occasional jumps back and forward in time that create both a sense of foreboding and continuity as well as a meditation on the nature of sorrow. There is no high drama here, but Marie and Gabe are compelling in their basic goodness, as is McDermott's elegy to a vanished world.

        COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        April 1, 2013

        As evidenced by McDermott's National Book Award winner, Charming Billy, few authors are as good as she is at making the ordinary extraordinary. Her new novel opens with a young Marie meeting free-spirited Pegeen, who declares herself an amadan (a fool) and thereafter tumbles down a stairs, signaling the unexpected falls we fools all take. Through World War II and beyond, from Marie's marriage to her parents' death and her brother the priest's loss of faith, McDermott tracks one emblematic life.

        Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from July 1, 2013
        Who is going to love me? Marie asks her older brother, Gabe, after her heart is broken. Someone, he replies. How humble this pronoun is, and what a provocative title it makes. Readers who love refined, unhurried, emotionally fluent fiction will rejoice at National Book Awardwinner McDermott's return. McDermott (After This, 2006) is a master of hidden intensities, intricate textures, spiked dialogue, and sparkling wit. We first meet Marie at age seven, when she's sitting on the stoop in her tight-knit, Irish-Catholic Brooklyn neighborhood, waiting for her father to come home from work. Down the street, boys play stickball, consulting with dapper Billy, their blind umpire, an injured WWI vet. Tragedies and scandals surge through the enclave, providing rough initiations into sex and death. Gabe becomes a priest. Marie works at a funeral home as a consoling angel, acquiring cryptic clues to the mysteries of life via teatime gossip sessions with the director's wise mother and a circle of wryly knowing nuns. Eventually Marie finds joy as a wife and mother, while Gabe struggles with his faith and sexuality. A marvel of subtle modulations, McDermott's keenly observed, fluently humane, quietly enthralling novel of conformity and selfhood, of lace-curtain pretensions as shield and camouflage, celebrates family, community, and the grace of a shared past. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A new McDermott novel is big news, and Someone will be heralded nationally with an author tour and enhanced cross-country publicity in all media.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription

A fully realized portrait of one woman's life in all its complexity, by the National Book Award-winning author



An ordinary life—its sharp pains and unexpected joys, its bursts of clarity and moments of confusion—lived by an ordinary woman: this is the subject of Someone, Alice McDermott's extraordinary return, seven years after the publication of After This. Scattered recollections—of childhood, adolescence, motherhood, old age—come together in this transformative narrative, stitched into a vibrant whole by McDermott's deft, lyrical voice.


Our first glimpse of Marie is as a child: a girl in glasses waiting on a Brooklyn stoop for her beloved father to come home from work. A seemingly innocuous encounter with a young woman named Pegeen sets the bittersweet tone of this remarkable novel. Pegeen describes herself as an "amadan," a fool; indeed, soon after her chat with Marie, Pegeen tumbles down her own...

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awards
      • source: The National Book Critics Circle
      • value: National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
      • source: The New York Times
      • value: The New York Times Best Seller List
subtitle
A Novel
publisher
Farrar, Straus and Giroux