Sunday, April 15, 2007
After This by Alice McDermott
I didn't love Alice McDermott's After This. Her prose and style were excellent, and since this was my first book by McDermott, I am going to have to look into her other works before I come to any conclusions about her. As for this particular work, any book about family relationships is going to be prickly because that is the nature of family, but I struggled to find much about any character with which I could identify (despite having the whole Irish catholic family background), and at times I even found the parents somewhat repugnant in the ways they related to or perceived their own children. There was a sense of disconnect throughout the entire book that made it difficult to really feel like the family was anything more than a bunch of orbiting satellites around the central nebulous idea of "family." And perhaps, because of the time setting of the work (late 40's-70's) it is that feeling that McDermott set out to capture, in which case the book is brilliant, and I just am not a good match for that type of story (always a possibility). The story ends abruptly and without seeming to obtain any sense of closure. However, it is an easy read. I was able to finish in less than three days, and it's not completely UNenjoyable. It's just not one I will ever find myself saying "Oh you really MUST read this...."