October 2017 Indie Next List
“Alice McDermott's dazzling The Ninth Hour turns on the contradictions that confound our need to reconcile with mortality. The empathetic characters, at once agents and benefactors of Christian charity, grow to realize not just the grace but also the hubris of their faith. A stunning work of generational storytelling, The Ninth Hour is compulsively readable and deeply thought-provoking. McDermott is a master artisan of humanity.”
— Lori Feathers, Interabang Books, Dallas, TX
Winter 2018 Reading Group Indie Next List
“The magic and brilliance of The Ninth Hour lie in its exploration of faith tested daily not by evil or crises or overwhelming tragedy or even philosophy, but by the simple mess and muck of life. These are no cloistered, saintly nuns at the heart of McDermott’s book, but fallible women in constant negotiation with God as the inflexible rules by which they are supposed to live clash with the comfort and grace they strive to offer.”
— Ezra Goldstein, Community Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY
"[Euan Morton's] steady, gentle delivery allows McDermott's elegant prose to shine. It's a quiet story about love and sacrifice that manages to be extremely moving without becoming sentimental or maudlin. Morton's performance similarly brims with emotion but never overflows." — AudioFile magazine
A magnificent new audiobook from one of America’s finest writers—a powerfully affecting story spanning the twentieth century of a widow and her daughter and the nuns who serve their Irish-American community in Brooklyn.
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 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 appears, unbidden, to direct the way forward for his widow and his unborn child.
We begin deep inside Catholic Brooklyn, in the early part of the twentieth century. Decorum, superstition, and shame collude to erase the man’s brief existence. Yet his suicide, although never spoken of, reverberates through many lives and over the decades testing the limits and the demands of love and sacrifice, of forgiveness and forgetfulness, even through multiple generations.
The characters we meet — from Sally, the unborn baby at the beginning of the audiobook who becomes the center of the story, to the nuns whose personalities we come to know and love, to the neighborhood families with whose lives they are entwined — are all rendered with extraordinary sympathy and McDermott’s trademark lucidity and intelligence. Alice McDermott’s The Ninth Hour is a crowning achievement by one of the premiere writers at work in America today, and the audio edition is truly unforgettable.
About the Author
Alice McDermott is the author of several novels, including After This; Child of My Heart; Charming Billy, winner of the 1998 National Book Award; and At Weddings and Wakes, all published by FSG. That Night, At Weddings and Wakes, and After This were all finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. McDermott lives with her family outside Washington, D.C.
Euan Morton’s narration credits include Christopher Moore’s Fool and Sacre Bleu, Neil Gaiman’s Stories, Eoin Colfer’s Benny books, and Frank Herbert’s Dune and Chapterhouse Dune. Morton’s breakthrough role was appearing as Boy George in the musical Taboo, which earned him a Laurence Olivier Award nomination. He reprised the role on Broadway, earning Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League Award nominations, as well as the Theatre World Award (for Outstanding Broadway Debut). Morton's other stage performances include Leaves of Glass, Sondheim on Sondheim, and Cyrano De Bergerac. He lives in New York City and Arlington, Virginia.