THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER AND RADIO 2 SUMMER BOOK CLUB PICK
'The new Little Fires Everywhere . . . The perfect summer read' STYLIST
'Stunning! An absolutely brilliant, gorgeously-written novel. A must-read for our time' LISA TADDEO, author of Three Women
'Immersive and deeply moving' ANNA HOPE, author of Expectation
'I absolutely adored it' LIANE MORIARTY, bestselling author of Big Little Lies
Two ordinary families. One life-changing day . . .
When the Gleesons and the Stanhopes become neighbours, lonely Lena Gleeson wants a friend. But Anne Stanhope - cold, elegant, unstable - wants to be left alone.
It's left to their children - Lena's youngest, Kate, and Anne's only child, Peter - to find their way to one another.
To form a friendship whose resilience and love will be almost broken by the fault line dividing both families, and a tragedy that will engulf them all.
A tragedy whose true origins only become clear many years later . . .
When everything has fallen apart, can their children's love pull it back together again?
A BOOK OF THE YEAR IN PRIMA, VOGUE, PEOPLE, ELLE AND NPR
'It's an absolute stunner, an ode to family and forgiveness that has been crafted with compassion and insight' Sara Collins, bestselling author of The Confessions of Frannie Langton
'Keane takes on one of the most difficult problems in fiction - how to write about human decency . . . a compelling case for compassion over blame, understanding over grudge, and the resilience of hearts that can accept the contradictions of love' Louise Erdrich, National Book Award winning author of The Round House
'Leaves one shaking one's head in frank admiration. A triumph' Matthew Thomas, bestselling author of We Are Not Ourselves
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We lost track of time reading Mary Beth Keane’s novel about two families linked by professional and neighbourly bonds—before they’re blown apart by tragedy. Ask Again, Yes centres on the Gleesons and the Stanhopes, two families whose fathers met as rookie policemen and whose children develop a deep and lasting bond. Keane is sympathetic to all of her characters, which makes the story of how one destructive person can harm a web of relationships all the more affecting. Like a brilliant painter’s use of negative space, Keane withholds certain information to make this saga a thrilling and moving read.
In her thoughtful, compassionate latest, Keane (Fever) traces two families' shared history over the course of four decades. When Brian Stanhope and Francis Gleeson meet in 1973, they forge the kind of quick, close-knit friendship that can arise from shared trials in their case, the pressures of being rookie cops in a tough Bronx precinct. When both young men marry and plan to have children, they purchase neighboring homes in the fictional suburb of Gillam, hoping the 20-mile commute to the city will provide a sufficient buffer between the grind of police work and the pleasures of family life. All is not well in suburbia, however although Francis's youngest daughter, Kate, and Brian's only son, Peter, become fast friends, tensions between the two families eventually flare into violence fueled by alcoholism and untreated mental illness. Years later, Kate and Peter grasp a chance for a hesitant new beginning, despite their fears about recapitulating the past. The two families' stories offer a visceral portrait of evolving attitudes toward mental health and addiction over the past 40 years. More generally, Keane's novel, which unfolds through overlapping narratives, illustrates the mutability of memory and the softening effects of time. "We repeat what we don't repair," Keane writes, and Kate and Peter's story poignantly demonstrates how grace can emerge from forgiveness, no matter how hard-won.