The Ninth Hour

New York Times Book Review's 100 Notable Books of 2017
The Washington Post's 50 Notable Works of Fiction 2017
The Wall Street Journal's Top 10 Novels of 2017
Time Magazine's Top 10 Novels of 2017
NPR's Best Books of 2017
Kirkus Reviews' Best Fiction & Best Historical Fiction of 2017
Library Journal's Top 10 Novels of 2017
Barnes & Noble's 25 Best Fiction Books of 2017

"tour de force"




"Emotionally intricate"

"A marvelous literary feat"

"vivid and arresting"



"mcdermott is a virtuoso"



"Entrancing and sublime"

"Superb and masterful"

"Beautifully crafted"

"marvelously evocative"

2017 Kirkus Prize Finalist for Fiction
2017 National book critics circle finalist for fiction

“McDermott has extended her range and deepened it, allowing for more darkness, more generous lashings of the spiritual . . . Vivid and arresting . . . Marvelously evocative.”
—Mary Gordon, The New York Times Book Review

"Grace and gumption . . . The Ninth Hour is a story with the simple grace of a votive candle in a dark church."
Time Magazine

"The Ninth Hour, like Colm Toíbín's Brooklyn, evokes a narrowly confined, simpler, largely bygone world. But McDermott also addresses big, universal questions — about what constitutes a good life, and about how to live with the knowledge of "that stillness, that inconsequence, that feral smell of death." Her novel encompasses base hungers, sin, guilt, reparations, secrets, and depression — so little understood at the time. And more: The Ninth Hour is also about love, both forbidden and sanctioned, albeit with the caveat that "Love's a tonic ... not a cure." This enveloping novel, too, is a tonic, if not a cure." 

"Tour de force . . . [Alice McDermott] reminds us of the pleasures of literary fiction and its power to illuminate lives and worlds. . .McDermott is a virtuoso of language and image, allusion and reflection, reference and symbol . . . McDermott once again demonstrates her expansively attentive literary care and its quiet power."
The Boston Globe

"McDermott . . . sees a world within those dusty parish halls, tenements, bars and funeral homes whose interest is inexhaustible. With the precision of a master. . .McDermott lays bare the reasons why those "small lives" matter. . .A great McDermott novel."
—Maureen Corrigan, The Wall Street Journal

"Superb and masterful . . . There are so many ways to read this beautiful novel: as a Greek tragedy with its narrative chorus and the sins of the fathers; as a Faulknerian tale out to prove once more that the “past is not even past”; as a gothic tale wrestling with faith, punishment and redemption à la Flannery O’Connor; or as an Irish novel in the tradition of Anne Enright and Colm Tóibín, whose sentences, like hers, burn on the page. But “The Ninth Hour” is also a love story, told at a languid, desultory pace and fulfilled most satisfyingly at the end."
—Lily King, The Washington Post 

“I’ve been captivated by The Ninth Hour... Its satisfactions lie not so much in its story as in its language, which is glorious.”
Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker

"[A] stunner . . . McDermott's language is, as always, precise and lyrical.."
Maureen Corrigan, NPR

" [T]he story is exhilarating, largely because of McDermott's lyrical language and unforgettable characters . . . [T]he nuns of the Little Nursing Sisters of the Sick Poor . . . are as fierce, funny, complicated and brave as any women in our fictional universe today."
Associated Press

“Alongside her marvelous descriptions of unbeautiful bodies is an intense lyricism . . . McDermott’s award-winning body of work constitutes its own fictional world . . . Her new book unfolds without sentimentality or pity, but with a frankness of gaze that elevates her characters rather than diminishes them.”
The Guardian

"National Book Award winner McDermott (Someone) delivers an immense, brilliant novel about the limits of faith, the power of sacrifice, and the cost of forgiveness."
Publishers Weekly ★

"In this enveloping, emotionally intricate, suspenseful drama, McDermott lures readers into her latest meticulously rendered Irish American enclave . . . Like Alice Munro, McDermott is profoundly observant and mischievously witty, a sensitive and consummate illuminator of the realization of the self, the ravages of illness and loss, and the radiance of generosity . . . McDermott’s extraordinary precision, compassion, and artistry are entrancing and sublime . . . This is one of literary master McDermott’s most exquisite works."
―Donna Seaman, Booklist ★ 

"“Everything that her readers, the National Book Award committee, and the Pulitzer Prize judges love about McDermott’s stories of Irish-Catholic American life is back.”
Kirkus Reviews ★

“This seamlessly written new work from National Book Award winner McDermott asks how much we owe others, how much we owe ourselves, and, of course, McDermott’s consistent attention to the Catholic faith, how much we owe God . . . In lucid, flowing prose, McDermott weaves her character’ stories to powerful effect. Highly recommended.”
Library Journal

"McDermott illuminates every­day scenes with such precise, unadorned descriptions that the reader feels he or she is there, hidden in the background. The agony of the sick in body or mind, the guilt over ignoring church doctrine, the power of love to erase loneliness—each is treated with McDermott’s exquisite language, tinged with her signature wit. Her latest is highly recommended—a novel to savor and to share.

“National Book Award winner McDermott is simply one of the finest living Catholic writers, and her new novel looks to capture the spirit of her previous work: families and cultures strained by the optimism of faith tempered by the suffering of reality . . . A generational novel sure to appeal to longtime McDermott fans, and to bring-in new readers as well.”
The Millions’s Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2017 Book Preview

"The National Book Award winner delivers another exquisite novel in which those who at first appear unremarkable—in this case, nuns in early-20th-century Brooklyn—are revealed as heroines, unflinching in their devotion to the flawed humans around them."
O, The Oprah Magazine

"[B]rilliant . . . perhaps her finest work to date . . . [A] riveting story that moves back and forth in time, spans multiple generations and shows the limits of faith and the challenge in maintaining it.”
Houston Chronicle

“An unalloyed pleasure to read. The story is dramatic and satisfying; the writing is rich with symbolism but never simplistic or pat.”
Commonweal Magazine

“The Ninth Hour is a stunning and intimate depiction of an era that has passed, all-too-easily, from reality to memory, reminding us that the uncomfortably personal has existed long before us, and will continue long afterwards.”
Irish America

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International Editions

Available in the UK, Ireland, & the British Commonwealth from Bloomsbury on October 19, 2017!

Available in the UK, Ireland, & the British Commonwealth from Bloomsbury on October 19, 2017!

“Alongside her marvelous descriptions of unbeautiful bodies is an intense lyricism . . . McDermott’s award-winning body of work constitutes its own fictional world . . . Her new book unfolds without sentimentality or pity, but with a frankness of gaze that elevates her characters rather than diminishes them.”
The Guardian

"Beautifully written, heart-wrenching and funny by turns, and offers a deeply vivid and authentic portrayal of Brooklyn long before its hipsters arrived."
—The Sunday Times

“This is a very fine novel and its focus on the quietly heroic lives of Catholic women in early twentieth-century Brooklyn enriches both McDermott’s oeuvre and contemporary fiction more generally.”
The Irish Times

“Brilliantly evoked . . . McDermott depicts with sensuous intensity the texture of lives lived and the intersection of faith and sin in a remarkable novel marked by small, but transformative acts of grace.”
The Daily Mail

“The Brooklyn McDermott reveals contains very few traditional families. She is interested in how women create alternative networks, and different kinds of relationships, in order to survive.”
The Literary Review

"A skilfully spun tale of an Irish immigrant family in 1940s Brooklyn whose lives are torn apart by an unquenchable fire, a child born into tragedy and the residual grief of an untimely death."
Irish Tatler

"Dealing in simple lives and small dramas, the prose displays an unerring sense of detail, mood, and emotion. A masterful American writer at her best."
—Mail on Sunday

"McDermott’s is an individual tale that will resonate with many."
The Big Issue in the North