Longlisted for the National Book Award

Longlisted for the National Book Award

An ordinary life-its sharp pains and unexpected joys, its bursts of clarity and moments of confusion-lived by an ordinary, but unforgettable woman: this is the subject of Someone, Alice McDermott's extraordinary New York Times bestselling novel.

We first glimpse Marie Commeford as a child: a girl in thick glasses observing her pre-Depression world from a Brooklyn stoop. Through her first heartbreak and eventual marriage; her delicate brother's brief stint as a Catholic priest and his emotional breakdown; her career as a funeral director's "consoling angel"; the deaths of her parents and the births of her children-we follow Marie through the changing world of the twentieth century and her Irish-American enclave. Rendered with remarkable empathy and insight, Someone is a novel that speaks of life as it is daily lived, with passion and heartbreak, a crowning achievement of one of the finest American writers at work today.

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“A fine-tuned, beautiful book filled with so much universal experience, such haunting imagery, such urgent matters of life and death.” —The New York Times

“A remarkable portrait of an unremarkable life.” —The New Yorker

“Fear and vulnerability, joy and passion, the capacity for love and pain and grief: Those are common to us all. Those are the things that great novelists explore. And it's this exploration, made with tenderness, wisdom, and caritas, that's at the heart of Alice McDermott's masterpiece.” —The Washington Post

“Just as McDermott manages to write lyrically in plain language, she is able to find the drama in uninflected experience. This is the grand accomplishment of Someone.” —Los Angeles Times

“[McDermott's] sentences know themselves so beautifully: what each has to deliver and how best to do it, within a modicum of space, with minimal fuss...the essential work of an examined life...McDermott's excellence is on ample display here.” ―Leah Hager Cohen, The New York Times Book Review

“Few contemporary writers can bring a time and place to life as well as Alice McDermott...A rare and lovely writer, she's given us another book brimming with earthly grace.” ―The Plain Dealer (Cleveland

“[Someone is] filled with subtle insights and abundant empathy and grace.” ―USA Today

“That's the spectacular power of McDermott's writing: Without ever putting on literary airs, she reveals to us what's distinct about characters who don't have the ego or eloquence to make a case for themselves as being anything special...[McDermott is] a master of silence and gesture.” ―Maureen Corrigan, NPR

Anna Worrall