Mary and O'Neil
A Novel in Stories
By Justin Cronin
Dial Press, Paperback, 9780385333597, 256pp.
Publication Date: August 30, 2005
List Price: $15.00*
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Justin Cronin's poignant debut traces the lives of Mary Olson and O Neil Burke, two vulnerable young teachers who rediscover in each other a world alive with promise and hope. From the formative experiences of their early adulthood to marriage, parenthood, and beyond, this novel in stories illuminates the moments of grace that enable Mary and O Neil to make peace with the deep emotional legacies that haunt them: the sudden, mysterious death of O Neil's parents, Mary's long-ago decision to end a pregnancy, O Neil's sister's battle with illness and a troubled marriage. Alive with magical nuance and unexpected encounters, Mary and O Neil celebrates the uncommon in common lives, and the redemptive power of love.
“An astonishingly good first novel...fully engaging from the
first paragraph. What a gift: to be able to live
alongside these people for a while.”
–Ann Patchett, Chicago Tribune
“A literary love story...about the fragility of good fortune
and the accidental ways of finding happiness.”
“Justin Cronin must have been a novelist in an earlier life. What
else could account for the mature insight and the beautifully
controlled technique we find in his debut novel?...Cronin
succeeds, touchingly and tenderly, in portraying life
itself as a triumph of hope over experience.”
–The Boston Globe
“Justin Cronin’s Mary and O’Neil is that rare thing: a wholly
engrossing story of the ordinary life.”
–Madison Smartt Bell, author of All Souls’ Rising