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The Ninth Hour

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The Ninth Hour

Alice McDermott

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WINNER OF THE PRIX FEMINA ETRANGER 2018 SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 KIRKUS PRIZE ONE OF TIME MAGAZINE’S TOP TEN BOOKS OF 2017

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 those who love Colm Toibin, Anne Enright and Anne Tyler

On a dim winter afternoon in a Brooklyn tenement, a young Irish immigrant unhooks the oven gas, and inhales. In the aftermath of the fire that follows, Sister St. Savior, an ageing nun appears, unbidden, to direct the way forward for his widow and unborn child.

This is how Sally comes to grow up in the convent laundry, amidst the crank of the wringer and the hiss of the iron, her universe governed by the strange, kind and mysterious Little Nursing Sisters of the Sick Poor. But although superstition and shame will collude to erase Sally’s father’s brief existence, his suicide will reverberate through many lives and over many decades. And when she comes of age, Sally will commit her own irrevocable deed, sacrificing her grace at the altar of human love.

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