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Extended Audio Sample After This: A Novel Audiobook, by Alice McDermott Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,353 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Alice McDermott Narrator: Martha Plimpton Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2006 ISBN: 9781593979935
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Alice McDermott’s powerful novel is a vivid portrait of an American family in the middle decades of the twentieth century. Witty, compassionate, and wry, it captures the social, political, and spiritual upheavals of those decades through the experiences of a middle-class couple, their four children, and the changing worlds in which they live.

While Michael and Annie Keane taste the alternately intoxicating and bitter first fruits of the sexual revolution, their older, more tentative brother, Jacob, lags behind, until he finds himself on the way to Vietnam. Meanwhile, Clare, the youngest child of their aging parents, seeks to maintain an almost saintly innocence. After This, alive with the passions and tragedies of a determining era in our history, portrays the clash of traditional, faith-bound life and modern freedom, while also capturing, with McDermott’s inimitable understanding and grace, the joy, sorrow, anger, and love that underpin, and undermine, what it is to be a family.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Ms. McDermott gives us an affecting meditation on the consolations and discontents of family life…And her easy authority with this material, combined with her clear-eyed sympathy for her characters, results in a moving, old-fashioned story about longing and loss and sorrow.”

    New York Times

  • “Exquisite…[McDermott] is a literary heir to Virginia Woolf.”

    Los Angeles Times Book Review

  • “Evocative…Read this for its real-world wisdom and for sentences that are gorgeous beyond belief.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “It is hard to know how to start piling on praise for this gripping, poignant book…Before we are aware of what McDermott has done, we are completely engaged…Like magic, we are drawn in.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • After This features McDermott’s by now trademark combination of exquisite delicacy and rich, multi-claused sentences. There is an incantatory interiority to her prose, capable of capturing subtle emotional nuances and flickers of moral wavering.”

    Newsday

  • “Alice McDermott writes beautiful, understated sentences so subtle and yet so packed with insight that if you blink, you might miss, say, the death of a character, or the realization by another that her grown-up life ‘would not be the life she wanted.’…McDermott’s prose is stunning…[Her] talent never fails to impress.”

    USA Today

  • “A master at capturing Irish-Catholic American suburban life…[McDermott] flawlessly encapsulates an era in the private moments of one family’s life.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Word by word, metaphor by metaphor, McDermott writes the most exquisitely perceptive and atmospheric fiction published today. Heir to Woolf and Nabokov, she nets the totality of human consciousness.”

    Booklist

  • “After five penetrating novels and a National Book Award, McDermott infuses the undulating plot with the knowledge that lives become most vivid in small moments of connection…Genuinely moving yet amorphous, like a remembered fragrance that you can’t quite place.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A 2007 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Fiction
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2007 Audie Award Finalist
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • One of the 2006 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen Westfall shaw | 2/17/2014

    " For me, the mail plus was the actual writing, not the story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jill | 2/16/2014

    " I *think* I liked this book. I haven't completely decided yet. At first, I would read at night, and then I would wake up in the morning and have no memory of what I read the night before. I did this for several nights before I found myself a little more invested in the story, and then I could remember what was going on. Actually, I think part of the reason I started to remember the story is that the last half of the book is more interesting than the first half. I finally found myself invested in the characters and caring about what happened to them. I would like to try another book by Alice McDermott to see if I would enjoy her other stories more. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cheryl Bentley | 2/4/2014

    " I was surprised to be captivated by this book. It was passed on to me with a "not my type of book" comment and sat on my shelf for over a year before I decided to give it a chance. I would describe it as a "quiet" book. It's not as if a lot doesn't happen during the course of these people's (primarily one family's)lives. The characters experience joy, death, war, birth, intimacy, isolation....but, as in our own lives, the lessons from those expereriences are not laid out in black and white. On the other hand, I found myself wanting to get back to the book and surprised to realize as I finished that the story ended just as the family's history was on the brink of moving into the next generation. The book is like life in many ways. A couple comes together, starts a family, watches the children grow and handles the ups and downs along the way, then the children move on with their own lives and another generation begins. Reading the book, it occurs to me now, was very much like looking through a famiy photo album. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Etanouye | 2/1/2014

    " Start with Charming Billy or Child of My Heart if you're new to Alice McDermott. This was a sort of experimental book, plot-wise, for her. Her sentences and scenes are great, as always, but the story structure takes some effort to determine. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ann Carol Lamb Girotto | 1/27/2014

    " I read about half of this book, but I just couldn't get through it. I never felt like I was getting to know the characters, and there were a lot of mundane observations going on. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Danielle | 1/27/2014

    " This is a beautifully written book about an Irish Catholic family from Long Island in the 1940s-1970s. There really isn't much in the way of a plot. It's really mostly a character piece. McDermott's descriptions are breathtaking at times though. If you're a lover of language you should enjoy this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 gwen | 1/19/2014

    " After This is an epic novel with three-quarters of the story removed; Alice McDermott pared her sweeping multi-generational novel down to its most beautiful and telling parts. Amazing voice, amazing ability to distill big things into little moments -- just amazing, period. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Staff Favorites | 1/10/2014

    " Lyrical novel that will leave you enthralled by the author's use of characters and language. --Joni "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cathann403 | 1/9/2014

    " Follows one family through the changing social rules from the 1940's to early '70's. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Martha | 1/6/2014

    " I kept waiting for something to happen in this book, but it never did. There was an occasionally interesting storyline, but mainly it was just a humdrum story about average, unremarkable people. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary Kruft | 12/29/2013

    " Best McDermott I've read - really liked it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Peggy Walker | 12/23/2013

    " I like Alice McDermott, but I just couldn't warm up to this book. All the characters seem to live fairly pointless lives. We don't really get to know or like any of them particularly well, and then it just ends. Very disappointing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Allie | 12/19/2013

    " An interesting look at family dynamics in a period that is vaguely familiar but still remote. Well written. Sad at times, but "real" in a way that isn't trying to be real. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mimi | 12/7/2013

    " Through no fault of McDermott's, this was the second book in a row I read with the same annoying writing style. However, I did enjoy the plot and some of the characters, just never quite made the leap into absorbing due to an intentional vagueness. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 meghan | 11/23/2013

    " As I read it I thought I didn't like it, but after I had it finished I was very impressed with its subtleties. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Margie | 10/2/2013

    " This was a disappointment after loving McDermott's Charming Billy. I never connected with this book's characters. The story "picture" was taken from afar, with brief close-ups. It was a struggle to complete. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Carol | 9/11/2013

    " Boring, predictable. Sad stories of that era. Couldn't wait for the end. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Anney Ryan | 8/27/2013

    " I know I'm supposed to like her... but I don't. She's really really really boring. The best thing about this book was that it was on CD and I got to listen to Martha Plimpton read it. That got me through half the book. Then not even Martha was enough to keep me awake. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Crystal | 5/2/2013

    " Got through 70 pages or so, and it was still dull...............might have been a good story but that is all the work I want to do on it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katie | 7/17/2012

    " second time i have read this - l love this book, i love alice mcdermott, i love the writing and especially i love the characters. it was hard to finish, hard to leave the keane family. i will read this again and again. beautiful. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 5/7/2012

    " An Irish-Catholic family in suburbia during the turbulence of the 60's. Good, but not great book. The characters seemed to be drawn in faded sepia instead of vibrant color. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lisa | 2/7/2012

    " Couldn't get into this one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nina | 11/30/2011

    " Every page of this book resonated. McDermott captures the tumult and confusion of the 60s. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica | 11/13/2011

    " Overall..pretty good. Definitely missed reading from a first person point of view, but this one was written quite well that I enjoyed learning a little about all of the characters. I assume that Claire has a baby boy, nothing like her relationship with Jacob. That would be a nice touch. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelli | 6/30/2011

    " Ouch! So real and so painful what a family can go through. A pretty nice conclusion, however. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy | 6/15/2011

    " A finely written work with lots of perceptive insight. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brenna | 5/20/2011

    " Meh. Didn't hold my interest enough for me to get more than a third of the way through. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Staff Favorites | 2/17/2011

    " Lyrical novel that will leave you enthralled by the author's use of characters and language. --Joni "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Allie | 1/30/2011

    " An interesting look at family dynamics in a period that is vaguely familiar but still remote. Well written. Sad at times, but "real" in a way that isn't trying to be real. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Laura | 1/12/2011

    " Beautiful writing, yet plot failed to draw me in. Still an enjoyable read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marilyn | 1/12/2011

    " I enjoyed the experience reading the family story which covers the decades from the parents meeting and marrying through the years that they raise their Irish Catholic family in post war New York City...It's a quiet, slow enjoyment, not a book that you just can't put down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzanne | 12/14/2010

    " Story moves through time so quickly it intrigued me. But other books called and this was due back at the library so maybe another time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carol | 11/27/2010

    " New York, Catholic family growing up in the 50s and 60s. Mostly character studies, vignettes of family members. I like her writing and use of words very much. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenny | 10/13/2010

    " It must be painful to be as sensitive as Alice McDermott is! Delicate and sure characterizations and an evocation of domestic life in the recent American past that never hits a false note. But it is not just social history; it an exploration of the meaning of life and spirit.

    "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Charissa | 9/22/2010

    " I was glad to be done with this one.... "

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About the Author
Author Alice McDermottAlice McDermott is the author of several novels, including After This; Child of My Heart; Charming Billy, winner of the 1998 National Book Award; and At Weddings and Wakes, all published by FSG. That Night, At Weddings and Wakes, and After This were all finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. McDermott lives with her family outside Washington, D.C.
About the Narrator

Martha Plimpton, in addition to audio narration, is a film, television, and stage actress. Her first major film roles include The River Rat, The Goonies, and The Mosquito Coast. On stage she made her Chicago debut with the Steppenwolf Theatre Company Ensemble, during which time she received a National Medal of Arts Award. She won the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her performance in Tom Stoppard’s The Coast of Utopia and has received numerous Tony Award nominations for supporting or featured actress. Her television roles included Grey’s Anatomy and Raising Hope, among others. In narration, she won an AudioFile Earphones Award for her reading of Alice McDermott’s After This, which also was a finalist in 2007 for the prestigious Audie Award.