Alice McDermott Absolution


Code 9781526673596
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'One of the finest contemporary novels I've read ... A moral masterpiece' ANN PATCHETT

'Her writing has a luminous kind of clarity, a grace and scope that fills me with wonder' RACHEL JOYCE

'Damning and dazzling ... The story of a Vietnam we never got in history class' OPRAH DAILY


You have no idea what it was like. For us. The women, I mean. The wives.

1963. Saigon. Tricia is a shy newlywed, married to a rising attorney working for US Navy intelligence. Charlene is a practiced corporate spouse and mother of three, a beauty and a bully. The two women form a wary alliance as they struggle to balance the pressure to be respectable wives for their ambitious husbands, with their own dubious impulses to do good for the people of Vietnam.

Sixty years later, Charlene's daughter, spurred by an encounter with an aging Vietnam veteran, reaches out to Tricia. Together, they look back at their time in Saigon, discovering how their lives as women on the periphery - of politics, of history, of war, of their husbands' convictions - have been shaped and burdened by the unintended consequences of America's tragic interference in Southeast Asia.

Exploring the disaster of the Vietnam War through the lives built by American wives in 1960s Saigon, this is a virtuosic novel about folly and grace, obligation, sacrifice and the quest for absolution in a broken world.

About the Author

Alice McDermott's novels include Someone, The Ninth Hour, After This, Child of My Heart, Charming Billy, At Weddings and Wakes, That Night and A Bigamist's Daughter. She won the National Book Award, has been a Pulitzer Prize finalist three times and nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award. She lives with her family outside Washington DC.

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'Crystalline, searching ... McDermott spins gold from sensuous details ... Beautifully conceived and executed, Absolution stares down the assumptions and loyalties that cage us all'
- Washington Post

'Perfectly captures the manner and mood of that era and the constricted lives that women led'
- Independent

'Enveloping . . . Retrospect amplifies McDermott's narrative approach; her work lives in its shimmering details . . . The debacle of America's involvement in Vietnam might easily have overdetermined McDermott's story, and it is a measure of her skill that Absolution maintains an oblique relationship to the war . . . What difference might it have made, for everyone, if those wives had been given a choice in the decision-making? Without posing this question directly, Absolution leaves the reader in its provocative shadow'
- Jennifer Egan, New York Times

'A firmly feminist accounting of the era's sins against women from both West and East, this could be McDermott's best novel yet'
- Los Angeles Times

'For four decades now, McDermott has written one exquisite novel after another, but her latest, a poignant tale of women and girls living on the periphery of the Vietnam War, may just be her masterpiece . . . In this richly imagined novel, packed with unforgettable characters, McDermott soars in a profound quest of moral inquiry'
- Esquire

'Display[s] her talent for luminous moral complexity ...Exquisitely rendered'
- Mail on Sunday

- Good Housekeeping

'Alice McDermott has always been one of our greatest writers but here she exceeds every expectation'
- Ann Patchett

'Her writing has a luminous kind of clarity, a grace and scope that fills me with wonder'
- Rachel Joyce

'McDermott delivers another elegantly written, immaculately conceived novel that immerses the reader in the contradictions and moral ambiguities of the human heart. McDermott is a storyteller who aims for the stars. Absolution takes us there, by way of wartime Saigon, and with a powerful reminder that good intentions can have consequences that jerk us awake over a lifetime. What a splendid, compelling book this is'
- Tim O'Brien, author of The Things They Carried


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