by Alice McDermott
3.9 63

Hardcover(First Edition)

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Someone by Alice McDermott

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374281090
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 09/10/2013
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 691,438
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Alice McDermott is the author of six previous novels, including After This; Child of My Heart; Charming Billy, winner of the 1998 National Book Award; and At Weddings and Wakes, all published by FSG. That Night, At Weddings and Wakes, and After This were all finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. McDermott lives with her family outside Washington, D.C.


Bethesda, Maryland

Date of Birth:

June 27, 1953

Place of Birth:

Brooklyn, New York


B.A., State University of New York-Oswego, 1975; M.A., University of New Hampshire, 1978

Customer Reviews

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Someone: A Novel 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is like the life you are living. This book will remind you to stay present for every precious moment. Or to remember with wonder and awe the past you thought was lost. The story is Mary's, but you are in there, too. Don't miss it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story jumped around alot with no breaks or chapters to let you know it was jumping forward or backward in time. This made it somewhat hard to follow. It was boring and i had to force myself to get through it. The saving grace for this bookwas that it was short and the author has a gift of description and painting a picture. Beautiful writing. Not worth the money or time though
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although the writing was excellent, I didn't like the way the story kept jumping from one incident to another and I especially hated the ending. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone.
PattiBacon More than 1 year ago
I really did not care for this story at all. The telling of it was too convoluted for my taste.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is probably one of the most beautifully written new novels I've read in years, at least since I read Andrei Makine's "Dreams of My Russian Summers" back in 1995. I'd caught a bit of an interview with the author on "Charlie Rose" and thought I'd give it a try. I liked how she talked about creating the character in the 3rd person then decided she had so much life in her, how could she not change it to a 1st person narrative? It's a very sad story but it's always consoling. Well-crafted sentences and plot flow effortlessly, conversationally, like one's own memories in and out of chronology but easy to follow. I need to go back and read some of her earlier books, now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very depressing book. I am Irish decent and found Irish characters described as ugly, dirty, poor.   Don't understand this as I have seen Alice and her family at many Irish music venues.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I dont know why b&n puts up with people who use this sextion as a messagee board!!! See 1, 3 and 13 for starters!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Add me
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! My daughter once described my reading taste as "realistic fiction." That is how I would describe this book. It is so well written, it held my interest throughout.
JayneMartin More than 1 year ago
McDermott's ability to make ordinary people living unremarkable lives captured this reader's heart. Her eloquent prose is a joy to linger over. I loved this book and was sad to see it end. If you enjoy books deep in character, you will love "Someone."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alice McDermott turns an ordinary life into a spectacular one due to her beautiful writing. The story filled me with wonder. A quick read that will stay on your mind for weeks.
tarync More than 1 year ago
Either you love the way Ms. McDermott writes or you find her boring! I love her writing and have enjoyed all her books. She does amazing character analysis and writes descriptions that make you feel you are living in the moment . I enjoyed this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh aww xD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NAME;Henry James Carter. AGE;17. GENDER;For all the retards out there, I am a male. APPEARENCE; He has jet black hair, which he takes great pride in, sparkling emerald green eyes, straight teeth, dimples, he is 5'10, he is pretty muscular, he has tan skin, he has a lip ring. PERSONALITY; He is over all nice and friendly, he can get pretty areogent though, he is a major flirt, he is very protective of his family. GODLY PARENT;Zeus. OTHER; Just ask
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After finishing this novel moments ago i wondered who of my friends i could call to talk about it. I think it takes a certain sensibility to love this kind of writing. It is beautifully descriptive of characters and scenery. It speaks to how one might think in their own private thoughts about the life they have lived. It is heartbreakingly honest and insightful as to how young thoughts and lives mature. It shows how empathy and kindness grow. But not in everyone. You have to be awake to your own feelings of joy and pain. Beautiful book.
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Two2dogs More than 1 year ago
This is the perfect book to read if you just want to read a good family story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was absolutely captivating. Beautiful descriptions and extremely heartfelt. This novel takes you through the life of a woman dealing with death and the joys of an ordinary life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PierresFamily More than 1 year ago
What a treasure! Before I buy a book, I read diverse reviews, so that I don't waste money on trash, and instead only buy treasures. And this book is a Treasure! I noticed that a lot of people have commented on the ordinariness of the story. I believe this "slice of life" writing is the primary trait that makes the book stand out. There are plenty of non-realistic, fantasy books out there, and some authors will stoop pretty lowly to sell a book. But instead, Ms. McDermott unfolds the everyday life of "ordinary" Marie, and the majority of us can identify with Marie. I would have liked to now more about her husband; I feel he was shortchanged, in comparison to the other characters. Why not tell more about the dynamics of their marriage? We skip too quickly from the marriage to the kids growing up, with too little attention to the relationship between Marie and Tom. But having said that, I would like to add that this book is otherwise a masterpiece. Many people can write about sensationalistic events, but it takes a real gift, to build a captivating story around our everyday lives.McDermott's writing is reminiscent of the classic writer Flannery O'Connor. I believe that McDermott is one the most gifted writers of our era.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I heard this book discussed on NPR. I liked what I heard being discussed. Bought the book and read it. Very well written and the story kept my attention. Rather poignant. I am thinking about nominating this book for my book club of 25 years to read this coming year.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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