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Publisher 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

Fiction & Literature
September 10
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Customer Reviews

Sally Kahan ,


A beautifully written insightful book about the human character and how we as people deal with life's problems,

psling ,

Quiet and moving

This is the story of one ordinary life. Marie grows up in Brooklyn in the 1930 s and 40s, has a heartbreak, gets a job, her parents pass away, her beloved brother turns troubled, she falls in love with a responsible guy, marries, has children, gets old. Alice McDermott is a master of lyrical detail, of evoking your understanding of the characters gradually. Beautiful writing.

Perky too ,


Someone....needs to correct Daisy. This book was written by Alice McDermott not Alice Walker, although she is also a wonderful author. That was written 5 years ago and I have just read the book....and loved it. Brooklyn in the 30’s, kids playing stick ball in the streets. I love the way McDermott writes. This is a great read.

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