menu icon
Screening on 35mm! BABY DRIVER • Friday 10/6 – Thursday 10/12

The Brattle Theatre40 Brattle St., Cambridge MA 02138 • Harvard Square • 617 876-6837 • [email protected]

Mon, Oct 2, 2017

Harvard Book Store ReadingsSpecial Events

Alice McDermott

Buy Tickets

Alice McDermott reads from The Ninth Hour: A Novel

in conversation with MARGOT LIVESEY

Tickets on sale now at harvard.com. Unable to attend? Order the book(s) or pre-order a signed copy from Harvard Book Store. No Brattle Passes.

This event includes a book signing.

Harvard Book Store welcomes award-winning novelist and Johns Hopkins University professor ALICE MCDERMOTT—author of Pulitzer Prize finalists That NightAt Weddings and Wakes, and After This—for a discussion of her latest novel, The Ninth Hour. Alice will be joined in conversation by fellow novelist MARGOT LIVESEY, author of, most recently, The Flight of Gemma Hardy and Mercury.

About The Ninth Hour: A Novel

hbs-mcdermott-bookA magnificent new novel from one of America’s finest writers―a powerfully affecting story spanning the twentieth century of a widow and her daughter and the nuns who serve their Irish-American community in Brooklyn.

On a dim winter afternoon, a young Irish immigrant opens the gas taps in his Brooklyn tenement. He is determined to prove―to the subway bosses who have recently fired him, to his badgering, pregnant wife―“that the hours of his life belong to himself alone.” In the aftermath of the fire that follows, Sister St. Savior, an aging nun, appears, unbidden, to direct the way forward for his widow and his unborn child.

We begin deep inside Catholic Brooklyn, in the early part of the twentieth century. Decorum, superstition, and shame collude to erase the man’s brief existence. Yet his suicide, although never spoken of, reverberates through many lives and over the decades―testing the limits and the demands of love and sacrifice, of forgiveness and forgetfulness, even through multiple generations.

The characters we meet, from Sally, the unborn baby at the beginning of the novel, who becomes the center of the story, to the nuns whose personalities we come to know and love, to the neighborhood families with whose lives they are entwined, are all rendered with extraordinary sympathy and McDermott’s trademark lucidity and intelligence.

Praise

“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, starred review

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

One of Publishers Weekly’s Top 10 Literary Fiction Picks for Fall 2017


Alice McDermott‘s most recent novel is The Ninth Hour. She is also the author of seven previous novels, including After ThisChild of My HeartCharming Billy, winner of the 1998 National Book Award; At Weddings and Wakes; and Someone, all published by FSG. That NightAt Weddings and Wakes, and After This were all finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. Her stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington PostThe New YorkerHarper’s Magazine, and elsewhere. She is the Richard A. Macksey Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University.

Photo credit: Jamie Schoenberger, Epic Photography

 

Margot Livesey is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Flight of Gemma Hardy, The House on Fortune Street, Banishing Verona, Eva Moves the Furniture, The Missing World, Criminals, and Homework. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Vogue, and the Atlantic, and she is the recipient of grants from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. The House on Fortune Street won the 2009 L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award. Born in Scotland, Livesey currently lives in the Boston area and is a professor of fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Photo Credit: Tony Rinaldi

  • Screening on 35mm! BABY DRIVER • Friday 10/6 – Thursday 10/12
New Digital Restoration! DESERT HEARTS • Friday 10/6 – Monday 10/9 • Co-presented with Wicked Queer

Movie Magic. It's what you make possible. Donate to the Brattle Film Foundation.