The Ninth Hour

The Ninth Hour

Large Print - 2017
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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, a Little Sister of the Sick Poor, appears, unbidden, to direct the way forward for his widow and his unborn child. In Catholic Brooklyn, in the early part of the twentieth century, decorum, superstition, and shame collude to erase the man's brief existence, and yet his suicide, although never spoken of, reverberates through many lives--testing the limits and the demands of love and sacrifice, of forgiveness and forgetfulness, even through multiple generations.
Publisher: Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, 2017
Edition: Large print edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781432841508
Branch Call Number: FICTION (LARGE PRINT) McDermott, Alice
Characteristics: 361 pages (large print) ; 23 cm
large print
Alternative Title: 9th hour


From the critics

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Feb 26, 2019

This book is a great read - not a pretty story, but full of the pathos of life. McDermott's a really great writer! Her development of character and her sympathetic feel for the ordinary person is remarkable. I just finished my fourth novel of hers and have put another on hold. I can't get enough!

Nov 24, 2018

keep for author

ontherideau Jun 01, 2018

These nuns were feminists in their own way, seemingly subservient but accomplishing goals in their sisterhood. There are likely people alive today because of care given to a grandmother long ago by a nun- and at no cost to the health care system.

DBRL_ANNEG May 31, 2018

Quiet little novel that follows an Irish-American widow and her daughter and the nuns who helped them get by in the early years of 20th century Brooklyn. The story, heavily wrapped in the Catholicism of the time, reminded me some of the book "Brooklyn" by Colm Toibin, though it was a little less dreary. Readers who enjoy stories told from multiple perspectives will want to check this one out.

Mar 25, 2018

I found the book a compelling read. The work of the nursing nuns interesting, but their motivation and personalities are often not what you would expect.

Jan 31, 2018

Couldn't get past first 20 pages telling about the same event over and over again. Gloomy and depressing read.

Nicr Nov 20, 2017

In the early twentieth century, a young man commits suicide, leaving his pregnant wife to support herself by laboring in the laundry of a convent. McDermott's novel vividly recounts the lives of Annie, her very interesting daughter Sally, their neighbors, and the nuns who help raise Sally and serve their Irish-American community. Seamless and absorbing, with an evocative use of "we" as the narrative voice. McDermott is a master of this material.

Oct 12, 2017

I was totally immersed in this novel. It was a fascinating tale, in which nuns were presented as real people. The story of the young widow, Annie, and her daughter Sally was also very compelling. A quiet , contemplative novel, full of feeling.

Oct 08, 2017

When I finished this novel I felt a strong sense of satisfaction - not from a light and fun read but satisfaction in reading the author's strong sense of descriptions of place, events, and time. The part in the story that gives account of the basement laundry makes me actually sense, literally, the smell, the sight, and the feeling of being there. This feeling continued throughout. I was drawn in like I was actually living alongside the characters as the author spins an interesting tale.


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