2013 National Book Award Longlist, Fiction

Alice McDermott

Someone by Alice McDermott


Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 978-0374281090

About the Book

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.


> Alice McDermott won the NBA for Fiction in 1998 for Charming Billy and
was a NBA Fiction Finalist in 1987 for That Night.

> Fiction Winners Online Exhibition: nbafictionblog.org

McDermott's appreciation from the NBF's The Contenders, NBA Fiction Finalists Online Exhibition:
> nbafictionfinalists.squarespace.com

> McDermott's Interview for The Book That Changed My Life