Charming Billy

Winner of the National Book Award   Winner of an American Book Award

Winner of the National Book Award
Winner of an American Book Award

Billy Lynch's family and friends have gathered to comfort his widow, and to pay their respects to one of the last great romantics. As they trade tales of his famous humor, immense charm, and consuming sorrow, a complex portrait emerges of an enigmatic man, a loyal friend, a beloved husband, an incurable alcoholic. Alice McDermott's striking novel, Charming Billy, is a study of the lies that bind and the weight of familial love, of the way good intentions can be as destructive as the truth they were meant to hide.

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“This is fiction as good as it gets.” ―USA Today

"Magical...In Charming Billy, Ms. McDermott writes...with wisdom and grace, refusing to sentimentalize her characters even as she forces us to recognize their decency and goodness. She has written a luminous and affecting novel." ―Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“There's no one like Alice McDermott for catching the ebullient particulars of the Irish-American sensibility…her touch is light as a feather, her perceptions purely accurate.” ―Elle

“McDermott demonstrates anew that she is a writer in a league all her own.” ―People

“...a rueful shrug of a novel whose strong, shrewd opening pages should be taught in college writing classes.” ―Time

"Eloquent...heartbreaking...McDermott is brilliant. "—The New York Times Book Review

"An astoundingly beautiful novel about the persistence of love, the perseverance of grief, and all-but-unbearable loneliness, as well as faith, loyalty and redemption."—The Philadelphia Inquirer


Anna Worrall