Alice McDermott's powerful novel is a vivid portrait of an American family in the middle decades of the twentieth century. Witty, compassionate, and wry, it captures the social, political, and spiritual upheavals of those decades through the experiences of a middle-class couple, their four children, and the changing worlds in which they live.
While Michael and Annie Keane taste the alternately intoxicating and bitter first fruits of the sexual revolution, their older, more tentative brother, Jacob, lags behind, until he finds himself on the way to Vietnam. Meanwhile, Clare, the youngest child of their aging parents, seeks to maintain an almost saintly innocence. After This, alive with the passions and tragedies of a determining era in our history, portrays the clash of traditional, faith-bound life and modern freedom, while also capturing, with McDermott's inimitable understanding and grace, the joy, sorrow, anger, and love that underpin, and undermine, what it is to be a family.
“Again and again, After This moves toward revelation and then modestly, modernly, pulls back, but not without a memory of what it glimpsed.”—The New Yorker
“Ms. McDermott gives us an affecting meditation on the consolations and discontents of family life... And her easy authority with this material, combined with her clear-eyed sympathy for her characters, results in a moving, old-fashioned story about longing and loss and sorrow.”—The New York Times
“It is hard to know how to start piling on praise for this gripping, poignant book...Before we are aware of what McDermott has done, we are completely engaged...Like magic, we are drawn in.”—Chicago Tribune
“A master at capturing Irish-Catholic American suburban life...[McDermott] flawlessly encapsulates an era in the private moments of one family’s life.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Word by word, metaphor by metaphor, McDermott writes the most exquisitely perceptive and atmospheric fiction published today. Heir to Woolf and Nabokov, she nets the totality of human consciousness.”—Booklist
“After five penetrating novels and a National Book Award, McDermott infuses the undulating plot with the knowledge that lives become most vivid in small moments of connection...Genuinely moving yet amorphous, like a remembered fragrance that you can’t quite place.”—Kirkus Reviews