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Alice McDermott tells the story of Billy Lynch within the complex matrix of a tightly knit Irish American community, in a voice that is resonant and full of deep feeling. Charming Billy is a masterpiece about the unbreakable bonds of memory and desire.
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Charming Billy is a devastating account of the power of longing and lies, love's tenacity, and resignation's hold. Even at his funeral party, Billy Lynch's life remains up for debate. This soft-spoken, poetry lover's drinking was as legendary among his Queens, New York, family and friends as was his disappointment in love. But the latter, as his cousin Dennis knows, "was, after all, yet another sweet romance to preserve." After World War II, both young men had spent one sun-swept week on Long Island, renovating a house and falling in with two Irish sisters--nannies to a wealthy family--"marveling, marveling still, that this Eden was here, at the other end of the same island on which they had spent their lives."
By the end of their idyll, Billy and Eva were engaged, though she was set to return to County Wicklow. Determined to earn enough money to bring her, her family, and if necessary her entire village back to the U.S., Billy took two jobs, one of which would indenture him for years. But despite the money he sent, Eva never returned, and then was suddenly dead of pneumonia. The true tragedy is that she had simply kept her fare and married someone else--a secret Dennis keeps for the next 30 years as he watches Billy fall into a loveless marriage and the self-administered anesthesia of alcohol.
Alice McDermott's quiet, striking novel is a study of the lies that bind and the weight of familial wishes. She seems far less interested in the shock of revelation than in her characters' power to live through personal disaster. As Dennis's daughter pieces together Billy's real history, she also learns of the accommodations her own family had long made--and discovers that good intentions can be as destructive as the truth they mean to hide.From the Back Cover:
"Eloquent...heartbreaking...McDermott is brilliant. "
--The New York Times Book Review
"There's no one like Alice McDermott for catching the ebullient particulars of the Irish-American sensibility, and in this superbly drawn, bittersweet tale of a captivating alcoholic, Charming Billy, her touch is light as a feather, her perceptions purely accurate."
"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."
--The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Magical...In Charming Billy, Ms. McDermott writes...with wisdom and grace, refusing to sentimentalize her characters even as she forces us to recognize their decency and goodness. She has written a luminous and affecting novel."
--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
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Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # 0374120803-11-20720578
Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997. Hardcover. Condition: New. New Condition, Hardcover Book, Seller Inventory # 2103020053
Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997. Condition: New. A+ Customer service! Satisfaction Guaranteed! Book is in NEW condition. Seller Inventory # 0374120803-2-1
Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0374120803
Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 1998. Boards. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. Unused pristine first edition bound in blue boards with white title on spine and photo on front cover. Author's signature only on second free endpaper. Special wrap-around dust jacket without inner flaps is labeled "A special gift for the bookseller" on rear panel and has publisher's closure sticker. Jacket is unclipped and without discernible flaws. The story of Billy Lynch within the complex matrix of a tightly knit Irish American community. 280 pages. Seller Inventory # 2080140904
Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997. Condition: New. Everyone loved him. If you knew Billy at all, then you loved him. The late Billy Lynch's family and friends, a party of forty-seven, gather at a small bar and grill somewhere in the Bronx to remember better times in good company, and to redeem the pleasure of a drink or two from the miserable thing that a drink had become in Billy's life. His widow, Maeve, is there and everyone admires the way she is holding up, just as they always admired the way she cared for Billy after the alcohol had ruined him. But one cannot think of Billy Lynch's life, one's own relentless affection for him, without saying at some point, "There was that girl. The Irish girl". And one can't help but think that the real story of his life lay there. Seller Inventory # 9780374120801
Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. SIGNED ON THE TITLE PAGE by ALICE McDERMOTT - FIRST EDITION/FIRST PRINTING. NEW & UNREAD - SPINE HAS NOT BEEN CRACKED - no flaws or defects - Hardcover in Dust Jacket as issued. DUST JACKET IN PROTECTIVE BRODART COVER - A VERY COLLECTIBLE COPY OF THIS BOOK - PHOTOS OF THE ACTUAL BOOK SENT UPON REQUEST. THIS IS AN INTRODUCTORY PRICE FOR OUR GRAND RE-OPENING. ALL PRICES WILL BE ADJUSTED LATER TO REFLECT MARKET PRICES. The boards Are Clean, Not Bumped. Fore Edges Are Clean. Dust Jacket Is In Fine Condition. No Chipping, Crinkles, or tears. Not Price Clipped. All books are boxed and shipped with bubble wrap - ALL BOOKS HAVE BEEN BOXED IN CLIMATE CONTROLLED STORAGE AND HAVE NOT BEEN TOUCHED BY ANY OTHER HUMAN THAN ME FOR AT LEAST THE LAST 10 YEARS - ALL BOOKS ARE SEALED AND BUBBLE WRAPPED AND SHIPPED IN BOXES - YOU CAN BUY HERE WITH CONFIDENCE KNOWING THAT A BUNCH OF STRANGERS HAVE NOT HANDLED YOUR BOOK -. Signed by Author(s). Seller Inventory # 004583
Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997. Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # Q-0374120803
Book Description Farrar Straus & Giroux, Gordonsville, Virginia, U.S.A., 1998. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. RARE Signed Special Presentation Copy Gift for the Bookseller. Hardcover signed on 3rd free end paper. 1st Edition-Stated. No dust jacket. Book has wrap around white cover secured by 2 stickers which are still unopened. White cover has 2 marks on the front opposite of the stickers. Book is BEAUTIFUL. COLLECTOR'S COPY. Signed by Author(s). Seller Inventory # 001345