The triumphant New York Times Bestseller *The Tonight Show Summer Reads Pick*
Named one of the Best Books of the Year by People, Vogue, Parade, NPR, and Elle
"A gem of a book." —Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
How much can a family forgive?
Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, rookie NYPD cops, are neighbors in the suburbs. 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.
In Mary Beth Keane's extraordinary novel, a lifelong friendship and love 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 thirty years. Heartbreaking and redemptive, Ask Again, Yes is a gorgeous and generous portrait of the daily intimacies of marriage and the power of forgiveness.
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.
Ask Again, Yes
A book about life , family and friends. Loneliness and hope.
This story was immediately engaging, and accurately highlighted struggles in life including mental illness, alcoholism, devotion, and forgiveness. I am really looking forward to Keane’s next novel. She is a brilliant writer.
Completely accurate character development
The author understood what is like to be family member of someone in law-enforcement. There were times that I felt I was reading about my own life and identified with Kate so much. The author also understood mental health issues. This was an excellent read but a bit emotional. I was grateful that she ended it in the positive because as many difficulties as we have in our lives, we can look back and realize difficulties don’t change who we are.