Someone: A Novel

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Macmillan, Sep 10, 2013 - Fiction - 232 pages
18 Reviews
A fully realized portrait of one woman’s life in all its complexity, by the National Book Award–winning author

An ordinary life—its sharp pains and unexpected joys, its bursts of clarity and moments of confusion—lived by an ordinary woman: this is the subject of Someone, Alice McDermott’s extraordinary return, seven years after the publication of After This. Scattered recollections—of childhood, adolescence, motherhood, old age—come together in this transformative narrative, stitched into a vibrant whole by McDermott’s deft, lyrical voice.
     Our first glimpse of Marie is as a child: a girl in glasses waiting on a Brooklyn stoop for her beloved father to come home from work. A seemingly innocuous encounter with a young woman named Pegeen sets the bittersweet tone of this remarkable novel. Pegeen describes herself as an “amadan,” a fool; indeed, soon after her chat with Marie, Pegeen tumbles down her own basement stairs. The magic of McDermott’s novel lies in how it reveals us all as fools for this or that, in one way or another.
     Marie’s first heartbreak and her eventual marriage; her brother’s brief stint as a Catholic priest, subsequent loss of faith, and eventual breakdown; the Second World War; her parents’ deaths; the births and lives of Marie’s children; the changing world of her Irish-American enclave in Brooklyn—McDermott sketches all of it with sympathy and insight. This is a novel that speaks of life as it is daily lived; a crowning achievement by one of the finest American writers at work today. A Publishers Weekly Best Fiction Book of the Year

A Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Book of 2013

A New York Times Notable Book of 2013

A Washington Post Notable Fiction Book of 2013

An NPR Best Book of 2013


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The prose is lovely and descriptive. - Goodreads
I don't think she can have enjoyed writing it. - Goodreads
Of course, I am saying this as a fiction writer. - Goodreads
I don't want to spend time summarizing the plot. - Goodreads

Review: Someone

User Review  - Diane Yannick - Goodreads

Stop right now and plan a bookdate with Someone. Relax and let the story take you away to the early 1900's in Brooklyn. Beautiful, lyrical unforced writing will sweep you into McDermott's carefully ... Read full review

Review: Someone

User Review  - Diane - Goodreads

No one writes about the Irish American experience better than Alice McDermott. Her National Book Award winning novel, Charming Billy, is the perfect example of that. Her latest novel, Someone, tells ... Read full review

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About the author (2013)

Alice McDermott is the author of six previous novels, including After This; Child of My Heart; Charming Billy, winner of the 1998 National Book Award; and At Weddings and Wakes, all published by FSG. That Night, At Weddings and Wakes, and After This were all finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. McDermott lives with her family outside Washington, D.C.

Meet Alice McDermott

For more details about Alice’s tour, visit

09/11/13 — Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C.

09/12/13 — Barnes & Noble Upper East Side, New York, NY

09/18/13 — Wellesley Booksmith, Wellesley, MA

09/19/13 — Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

09/21/13 — Book Court, Brooklyn, NY

09/25/13 — Common Good Bookstore at Weyerhauser Chapel, St. Paul, MN

09/26/13 — Book Celler at The Music Box Theater, Chicago, IL

09/27/13 — Anderson’s Bookstore (off-site), Naperville, IL

09/28/13 — Boswell Books, Milwaukee, WI

10/02/13 — Tattered Cover Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO

10/03/13 — Bookpeople, Austin, TX

10/04/13 — Watermark Books (off-site), Wichita, KS

10/07/13 — Book Passage, Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA

10/08/13 — Great Good Place for Books/Montclair Presbyterian Church, Oakland, CA

10/09/13 — Elliott Bay at the Seattle Public Central Library, Seattle, WA

10/10/13 — Los Angeles Public Library, ALOUD Series, Los Angeles, CA

10/11/13 — Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena, CA

10/17/13 — Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY
10/20/13 — Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, MI

10/21/13 — Detroit Book & Author Luncheon, Detroit, MI

12/05/13 — Philadelphia Free Library, Philadelphia, PA

02/12/14 — Brooklyn Academy of Music/Eat, Drink & Be Literary, Brooklyn, NY

02/13/14 — Ireland House/NYU, New York, NY

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