NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * The Tonight Show Summer Reads Pick * “One of the most unpretentiously profound books I've read in a long time…modestly magnificent.” —Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air
“A beautiful novel, bursting at the seams with empathy.” —Elle
How much can a family forgive?
A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the friendship between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, the daily intimacies of marriage, and the power of forgiveness.
Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, rookie cops in the NYPD, live next door to each other outside the city. What happens behind closed doors in both houses—the loneliness of Francis’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne, sets the stage for the explosive events to come.
Ask Again, Yes is a deeply affecting exploration of the lifelong friendship and love that blossoms between Kate Gleeson and Peter Stanhope, born six months apart. One shocking night their loyalties are divided, and their bond will be tested again and again over the next 40 years. Luminous, heartbreaking, and redemptive, Ask Again, Yes reveals the way childhood memories change when viewed from the distance of adulthood—villains lose their menace and those who appeared innocent seem less so. Kate and Peter’s love story, while haunted by echoes from the past, is marked by tenderness, generosity, and grace.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We lost track of time reading Mary Beth Keane’s novel about two families linked by professional and neighborly bonds—before they’re blown apart by tragedy. Ask Again, Yes centers 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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Ask Again, Yes
A book about life , family and friends. Loneliness and hope.
Ask Again, Yes
Loved this book! Every character was believable. The span of time worked very well. This book tugs at your heart and keeps you engaged from start to finish.
It just goes on, and on...and on. Just when I think it’s going to get exciting it becomes boring again. I think Jimmy Fallon is the only reason why anyone decided to read it.