OVERRIDE

Charming Billy

A Novel

Alice McDermott

Picador

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.

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Charming Billy by Alice McDermott. Copyright © 1997 by Alice McDermott. To be published in December, 1997 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.


SOMEWHERE IN THE BRONX, only twenty minutes or so from the cemetery, Maeve found a small bar-and-grill in a wooded alcove set well off the street that was willing to serve the funeral party of forty-seven medium-rare roast beef and boiled potatoes and green beans amandine, with fruit salad to begin and vanilla ice cream to go with the coffee. Pitchers of beer and of iced tea would be placed along the table
READ THE FULL EXCERPT
BACK

REVIEWS

Praise for Charming Billy

"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

 


"A luminous and affecting novel."—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"There's no one like Alice McDermott for catching the ebullient particulars of the Irish-American sensibility...her touch is light as a feather, her perceptions purely accurate."—Elle

"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

Reviews from Goodreads

BACK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Alice McDermott

  • Alice McDermott is the author of six novels. Her articles, reviews and stories have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, Redbook and elsewhere.

  • Alice McDermott Epic Photography/Jamie Schoenberger
BACK

READING GUIDE

ORGANIZING A READING GROUP

GET THE GUIDE

Download PDF

TELL YOUR FRIENDS

FIND MORE BOOKS

Go to website

STAY UPDATED

Sign Up

OTHER GUIDES

Reading Group Guide
BACK

BUY THE BOOK

Available Formats and Book Details

Charming Billy

A Novel

Alice McDermott

National Book Awards Winner, American Book Award Winner

BOOKS FOR COURSES AVAILABLE

BACK

FROM THE PUBLISHER

Picador

BACK