Picador USA, Paperback, 9780312429423, 243pp.
Publication Date: November 24, 2009
A "New York Times" bestseller, winner of the National Book Award and a finalist for the International Dublin IMPAC Literary Award, "Charming Billy" is "Alice McDermott's masterpiece" (NPR) and now a Picador Modern Classic.
Billy Lynch's family and friends have gathered to comfort his widow, and to pay their respects to one of the last great romantics. As they trade tales of his famous humor, immense charm, and consuming sorrow, a complex portrait emerges of an enigmatic man, a loyal friend, a beloved husband, an incurable alcoholic. Alice McDermott's striking novel is a study of the lies that bind and the weight of familial love, of the way good intentions can be as destructive as the truth they were meant to hide.
"A luminous and affecting novel."--The New York Times "Alice McDermott demonstrates anew that she is a writer in a league all her own."--People "An exquisitly rendered potrait . . . tales overlap tales in a singsong pattern of Irish-American brogue and family history."--Entertainment Weekly "An astoundingly beautiful novel about the persistence of love, the perseverance of grief, and all-but-unbearable loneliness, as well as faith, loyalty, and redemption."--Philadelphia Inquirer "Taut and beautifully written . . . Each distinct atom of reality splits under McDermott's artisan hammer and releases a world of wild, lost particles: charm, for example, and others the physicists have not yet invented, such as grief, comedy, even happiness."--Los Angeles Times "This is fiction as good as it gets."--USA Today "Haunting . . . mesmerizing . . . McDermott is an enormously skilled and assured writer who transforms the ordinary into something resonant and magical."--Cleveland Plain Dealer "[A] rueful shrug of a novel whose strong, shrewd opening pages should be taught in college writing classes."--Time