From the National Book Award-winning author comes a luminous, deeply humane novel about three generations of an Irish immigrant family in 1940s and 1950s Brooklyn for fans of Anne Tyler, Anne Enright and Colm Tóibín
On a gloomy day in February, Jim sends his wife Annie out to do the shopping before dark falls. He seals their meagre apartment, unhooks the gas tube inside the oven, and inhales.
Sister St. Saviour, a Little Nursing Sister of the Sick Poor, catches the scent of fire doused with water and hurries to the scene: firemen, a gathered crowd and a distraught young widow, who is with child.
Moved by Annie's plight, the kindly nun finds her work in the convent's laundry, and Annie's baby daughter grows up amidst the crank of the wringer, the hiss of the iron, the reminiscences of Sister Illuminata and the games of Sister Jeanne.
Yet what will become of this convent child? Will Sally join the women who raised her in their unending efforts to alleviate Brooklyn's poverty and sickness?
Tracing three generations of an Irish immigrant family, The Ninth Hour tells, in prose of startling radiance and piercing precision, a story that is both individual and universal in its understanding of the human condition.
Meditating on fairness, faith, sacrifice, duty and love, it illuminates, with the depth and sensitivity for which Alice McDermott is known, the bonds that unite or divide us.