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Publisher Description

A magnificent new novel from one of America’s finest writersa powerfully affecting story spanning the twentieth century of a widow and her daughter and the nuns who serve their Irish-American community in Brooklyn.

On a dim winter afternoon, a young Irish immigrant opens a gas tap in his Brooklyn tenement. He is determined to prove—to the subway bosses who have recently fired him, to his pregnant wife—that “the hours of his life . . . belonged to himself alone.” In the aftermath of the fire that follows, Sister St. Saviour, an aging nun, a Little Nursing Sister of the Sick Poor, appears, unbidden, to direct the way forward for his widow and his unborn child.

In Catholic Brooklyn in the early part of the twentieth century, decorum, superstition, and shame collude to erase the man’s brief existence, and yet his suicide, though never spoken of, reverberates through many lives—testing the limits and the demands of love and sacrifice, of forgiveness and forgetfulness, even through multiple generations. Rendered with remarkable delicacy, heart, and intelligence, Alice McDermott’s The Ninth Hour is a crowning achievement of one of the finest American writers at work today.

Fiction & Literature
September 19
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Customer Reviews

Wish I liked Excercise ,

The Ninth Hour

A beautifully written story about what it really means to be religious—to embrace the best of what it means to live a religious life. I felt so good after reading it.

Word Lover 70 ,

The Ninth Hour

I found the story line confusing. Mother/ daughter initial story line interesting and easily followed. As the story unfolded It seemed to repeatedly jump back in time and then return to the present time period of the novel.
While I tried to understand and enjoy the novel, in conclusion, it was not a satisfying read.

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