Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

1. First lines 2. Publishers: Penguin Simon and Schuster 3. West Point Indiana Street by Huw Williams (Huwmanbeing) Licence: [Public domain] via Wikimedia 4. Smoking woman sits on the porch by simpleinsomnia Licence [CC BY 2.0] via flickr
I really liked this book.
A family drama that’s not over-dramatic.

The Gleesons and the Stanhopes are neighbours in the small town of Gillam, New York State in the 1970s. Peter Stanhope and Kate Gleeson are childhood friends, but after a tragedy that affects both families, they don’t see each other for many years. The story is told over a period of forty years.

“Francis Gleeson, tall and thin in his powder blue policeman’s uniform, stepped out of the sun and into the shadow of the rocky stone building that was the station house of the Forty-First Precinct.”

“… you repeat what you do not repair.”

“The thing is, Peter, grown-ups don’t know what they’re doing any better than kids do. That’s the truth.”

~ Quotes from the book.
  • Kirkus: “Graceful and mature. A solidly satisfying, immersive read.”
  • National Public Radio: As a writer, Keane reminds me a lot of Ann Patchett: Both have the magical ability to seem to be telling “only” a closely-observed domestic tale that transforms into something else deep and, yes, universal. In Keane’s case, that “something else” is a story about forgiveness and acceptance — qualities that sound gooey, but are so hard to achieve in life. And, in the final moments of this modestly magnificent novel, even that blah title of Ask Again, Yes is ingeniously redeemed.”

Author website: Mary Beth Keane

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