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December Book Club

MacIntosh December Book Club

Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott


One of TIME Magazine's Top Ten Novels of the Year
A 2017 Kirkus Prize Finalist
New York Times Book Review Notable Book 

On a dim winter afternoon, a young Irish immigrant opens a gas tap in his Brooklyn tenement. He is determined to prove—to the subway bosses who have recently fired him, to his pregnant wife—that “the hours of his life . . . belonged to himself alone.” In the aftermath of the fire that follows, Sister St. Saviour, an aging nun, a Little Nursing 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, though 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. Rendered with remarkable delicacy, heart, and intelligence, Alice McDermott’s The Ninth Houris a crowning achievement of one of the finest American writers at work today.

Join us for discussion and snacks on Thursday, December 27th at 6 p.m. Open to anyone who has read the book!

Earlier Event: December 17
Meet Doug MacGregor
Later Event: December 29
Meet Charles LeBuff and Betty Anholt