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.
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Instead, she uses her lyrical, pointillist prose to conjure the homely details of their middle-class life on Long Island: the ordinary pleasures of a family trip to the beach, the aggravations of tending to four squabbling children, the claustrophobia of marital discord where a simple silence can...Sep 08 2006 | Read Full Review of After This: A Novel
despite its the-times-they-are-a-changin' backdrop, After This never convincingly captures the generational storm that has gathered on the horizon.While it fails as a cohesive novel, After This shines in its small moments, much like a story collection.There are unforgettable vignettes, such as th...Sep 21 2006 | Read Full Review of After This: A Novel
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