Monday, October 9, 2017

The Ninth Hour

Nuns. I challenge any reader of Alice McDermott’s novel titled, The Ninth Hour, to finish it and not love the nuns. Through tightly written lyrical prose, McDermott takes us into the world of Catholic Brooklyn in the early to mid-twentieth century. Like McDermott, I was born into that culture in the middle of the twentieth century and there were nuns everywhere. Don’t expect to find the cheery singing nuns from the movies in McDermott’s world. These are hard-working, pragmatic women who are wise to the ways of the world and the Church, and live close to poor people and care for them with deep love and practical action. McDermott wastes no words in capturing setting and character. Here’s one of my favorite sentences from p.26: “All joy was thin ice to Sister Lucy.” So much explained and understood in just eight words. The rest of the words in this novel are just as perfect as these eight. Rating: Five-star (I love it) Click here to purchase The Ninth Hour from

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