Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “After This” as Want to Read:
After This
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

After This

3.28  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,450 Ratings  ·  405 Reviews
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 t
ebook, 288 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published January 1st 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
K.D. Absolutely
Oct 16, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Angus Miranda
Recommended to K.D. by: Pulitzer
Shelves: pulitzer, drama
This is one of those novels that I thought to be a so-so and yet it turned out to be exceptionally good. For me, its strongest suit is the opening scenes. There is no earth-shattering event like atomic bomb or an unforgettable quote but just a description of a woman coming out from a late morning visit to a church to pray. That scene is so vividly described complete with the wind blowing and the and a very detailed account of the church’s steps, the feet of that woman, the sea breeze and the off ...more
Jun 14, 2008 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had a hard time connecting to this book, and it took me quite a while to finish it; I never really wanted to pick it back up and resume. It was well-written and I appreciated the quiet subtlety of McDermott's writing, but...I don't know. I just never felt that engaged with it.
Mar 13, 2008 Katie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was pretty boring and definitely lacked character developement. Very hard to get into.
Jan 12, 2008 Joshua rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alice McDermott has a gentle yet incisive voice and really excels at evoking the feel of a time and place with her narration. One fascinating point of this book is that the most important event is never shown, thus contradicting the "show don't tell" maxim of creative writing. But by the event's very absence, the novel achieves an appropriate mood of absence and recovery.
Mar 01, 2008 Carole rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I felt this was an absolute waste of time. I abandoned it a little more than halfway through, completely fed up of McDermott's random comments about individual characters... and attempts at creating mystery by only vaguely alluding to certain things (the early birth of Clare, how Mr Keane will eventually die and many more).

Having just read "All The King's Men" which was so beautifully written and all the character development felt relevant and important... "After This" just felt like the uncoor
Girellando qua e là, ho trovato giudizi “tiepidi” su questo romanzo di Alice McDermott, finalista per il Pulitzer 2007, vinto poi da “La strada”, di Cormac McCarthy. Qualcuno lo ha addirittura definito noioso. A me, invece, è piaciuto molto, sia per la sua scrittura nitida, sia per l’essenzialità espressiva. L’autrice ci accompagna alla scoperta di una famiglia americana, di origine irlandese, a partire dai primi anni del dopoguerra sino quasi ai giorni nostri, passando attraverso la rivoluzione ...more
Aug 14, 2008 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is unlike any other I have ever read. Her writing style astounded me... throughout the book I had a hard time defining the plot in my mind, yet I knew the book was incredibly well written and the message clear. Moving through the lives of several character, McDermott smoothly uses foreshadowing, repetition, idioms, and symbolism to emphasize various significant points.

This was my first experience reading McDermott, and I must admit I was a little caught off guard. While she moved quic
Nov 01, 2013 Ann-Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After searching for "Charming Billy" I settled on this slim little book. I had heard next to nothing about it but now that I've completed it, for me this was the kind of writing and story where afterwards you want to read reviews, book club discussion questions and more to retain the mood, the atmosphere, the raw memories it's stirred. One review from USA Today (consider the source)in particular distressed me. The reviewer remarked that "After This" "failed as a cohesive novel." Clearly, the coh ...more
Lexie Keller
Feb 13, 2008 Lexie Keller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it. Love LOVE In fact I will probably read it again soon, immediately after finishing it. This book was just beautiful. Spare but fully observed and it's clear McDermott's heart swells along with her characters-- I felt like I had several genuine moments of revelation throughout this little ordinary novel about a NY Catholic family over several decades. I've read (and enjoyed) most of McDermotts books and this newest is the best. Maybe my favorite contemporary novel. ?
Jenny Shank
Nov 29, 2010 Jenny Shank rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

After This, by Alice McDermott
Author conjures up another tour de force with post-WWII tale
Jenny Shank, Special to the News
Published September 7, 2006 at midnight

When Alice McDermott's novel Charming Billy beat out two sprawling tomes by literary heavyweights for the National Book Award in 1998 (Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full and Robert Stone's Damascus Gate), The New York Times described the victory as a "surprise." But those who had been following McDermott's
Denise Kruse
Jul 22, 2012 Denise Kruse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A sad yet hopeful, subtle yet powerful look at a changing time. Alice McDermott's exquisite words take us to a time, those few significant years when children soak it all in– observing and being formed. The novel begins when the roles of men and women are defined, WWII-era parents of big, Catholic families do the best they can, the Church can do no wrong (or at least few admit it with any fervor), and what is considered "PC" then is not the same as today.

Then the 60s happen.

…their father agreed
Nov 04, 2013 Peggy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Mary and John Keane and their four children. They are an Irish-Catholic family living in Long Island, NY. We meet Mary Rose a thirty-ish single woman who lives with her father and brother, her mother is dead. She wonders if she will ever get married. John Keane is home from the war with a bum leg as a result. They meet one day at a diner over lunch and our story of their life together begins.

I am not a Catholic, but I love reading novels with characters, like Mary and John,
May 31, 2009 Syd rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is my second McDermott read and I liked this one even less than Charming Billy. Her writing is good, but this novel seemed so disjointed - haphazard even - that I couldn't relax into the story for even a moment. I developed no attachment to a single character because there were too many and not much time devoted to any of them. After This? After WHAT?????
Jun 08, 2009 K rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: die-hard Alice McDermott fans
Shelves: couldntfinish
Life proves to be too short once again, and I'm not going to bother finishing this. I remember picking up Charming Billy multiple times in the States and thinking, it must be me, because this book got rave reviews. I finally managed to force myself to finish it when I had moved to Israel and was in the throes of a book shortage and I still didn't get what all the hype was about. I remember feeling like, I should like Alice McDermott. She writes poetically, and she seems like a deep author -- why ...more
Sep 09, 2007 Alicia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alice McDermott specializes in Irish-American-Catholic suburban life and is a National Book Award winner for her novel Charming Billy.

By the age of thirty Mary was not expected to marry, having settled into life taking care of her father and brother. But contrary to all expectations, the spinster meets and charms John, a war veteran. This novel follows John and Mary Keane and their children through courtship, raising children and enduring loss. When their eldest child goes to Vietnam and never r
Beautiful words, sentences, and detail. Lovely vignettes from moments in individual lives. But why? Why this family at that time? I struggled to find a narrative thread through the book and I couldn't understand why McDermott had decided that this family were worthy of her words, rather than the neighbour's next door, or the ones down the street.

My other issue with it, is that as the children grow up and some leave home three of them are allowed their own little scenes, in bars, in cars, having
Will Byrnes
I have enjoyed books by McDermott before, thus my interest in this one. This is a portrait of an Irish American family in the post war period up to today. There is much that feels familiar to me about the characters, the worldview, the Catholicism, the resignation. But I found that I did not feel any real attachment to any of the characters, male or female. They all felt to me like literary mechanisms, useful as a means of getting points across about the changing culture of the 20th century, but ...more
Feb 22, 2014 Emma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended to me as one that gracefully handles long sweeps of time. The book follows a couple as they meet, marry, have children, and watch those children grow. However, the point of view is omniscient, allowing us to travel from one character's head to another, often over the course of just a page. While it's interesting to get so many perspectives, this also had the effect of making it difficult to get into the story, as I didn't feel as attached to any of the characters as I m ...more
May 25, 2014 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
AFTER THIS is a quietly interesting book. The content is an Irish Catholic family and what happens to them. The family expresses little emotion but through their subtle gestures you get to know them. The book is low on plot and heavy on characterization.

The book is really about the passage of time and what happens to all of us as we slide toward death. We meet the family as children and watch them grow up. We meet young optimistic parents and see and feel their cherished moments and their traged
Nov 24, 2008 Regan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Regan by: Isn't too attached to the idea of story.
Haiku Review #2:
Not much of a plot.
But Alice really can write.
The wind blew a lot.

Aug 27, 2010 Lennie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
John and Mary Keane are two loving parents who are devoted to their four children. Like all parents who are raising their children in the mid-century, they want nothing but the best for them so they try to provide a nice, stable home life so that their children can grow up to thrive and be successful. They send their children to private, Catholic schools, attend mass on Sundays, involve themselves in the community by raising money for the church, and are on good terms with their neighbors. But t ...more
I spent a year with Charming Billy, by McDermott. It was one of our books for Richmond Reads, a community reading program for the greater Richmond area. It was a good book and it stood up to discussion and re-reading.

To be honest, though, I had not given McDermott much thought since that year. I liked Charming Billy and I had enjoyed That Night which is now a bit dated. A description of After This had crossed my desk and I wondered what her latest book was like. (This is McDermott's latest even
May 27, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure I've ever said this about a book before, and I say this is my most hetero voice, but it's a really beautiful story. There's not much of a plot, which I normally can't stand, but you really get to know these characters. It's the story of an Irish Catholic family growing up in New York in the 50s and 60s and deals with a lot of serious subjects, like abortion, the Vietnam war, depression, without the real story getting sad or depressing. You see the kids grow up in detail, but it's no ...more
Apr 28, 2009 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, bookclub, 2009
This has to be the most compelling novel I've ever read in which almost nothing happens. "After This" feels more like a series of vignettes, or linked short stories. It describes several decades in the lives of the Keane family - from the parents' meeting through when their children reach adulthood. Each chapter is told from a different family member's perspective.
The book progresses from the late 40s through the 1960s and McDermott does a wonderful job evoking the feelings and realities of tho
Nov 07, 2007 Tara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
After This is a story about the Keane family and the years that this family struggles and grows through. It starts with the day Mary meets John, then moves to their lives with small children. As the book progresses, the reader "watches" the 4 children: Jacob, Michael, Annie and Claire, grow into the adults they are destined to become. It's an interesting look at the lives of people who live through wars and protests.

That being said, I just didn't like the way the story was written. I felt like t
Robert Palmer
Aug 28, 2015 Robert Palmer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You don't have to be Catholic to identify with this story, you just have to be there. The story is interconnected with several stories conseriing the Kenae family , there friends and neighbors. The story begins in the late 40s just after the war and ends when Vietnam is winding down. John and Mary Keane marry shortly after the war, John is haunted by the death of a young Jewish boy named Jacob and he names his first Son Jacob, which is not a typical Irish name , it will become an omen that will ...more
Cathryn Conroy
Aug 19, 2014 Cathryn Conroy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author Alice McDermott brilliantly captures the very essence of the '60s in this book that views that turbulent and societal-changing decade through the eyes of one family who lives in suburban Long Island, New York. Good Roman Catholics Mary and John meet by chance in a diner, fall in love and marry at an older age than was common in the 1950s. They promptly have four children, two boys and two girls. Their lives are filled with joy and tragedy. It is both the small events of their lives--repai ...more
Nov 19, 2015 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ugh, I wish I'd skipped this one. It's not that it was poorly written, indeed McDermott clearly has a way with words and description but I couldn't connect with the characters and didn't see the logic in the way she skipped from one to the next. I suppose this is one of those books trying to capture the American family? I've read many of them and most have been better than this one.
All in all, I really liked this book. The slow, languid pace somehow fits the story perfectly. My one complaint is that the story treats time almost like a stone skipping over water. At the end of one chapter, two people meet each other, and at the beginning of the next, they are married with three children and a fourth on the way. Then, suddenly, we are another 5 years or so in the future (references to WWII and the Vietnam War anchor the story generationally, but there's very little to give so ...more
A couple marries and raises four children. That's the story. In this nonlinear, character-driven literary novel, this family moves through the last half of the 20th century. They are middle-class and Catholic, ordinary and even typical. But that is oversimplifying the story. This is about those small connections that create a shared humanity. Marriage is present with its hopes and disappointments. So is bringing a child into this world and seeing them leave it. McDermott is highly observant abou ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Book Club: General Discussion of After This 2 12 Aug 06, 2013 10:49AM  
After This 3 23 Mar 12, 2009 04:52AM  
  • The Manikin
  • An Unfinished Season
  • Rabbis and Wives
  • The Collected Stories
  • All Souls
  • Paradise
  • Persian Nights
  • The Feud
  • Bear and His Daughter
  • Leaving the Land
  • Mr. Ives' Christmas
  • Shakespeare's Kitchen
  • Servants of the Map
  • Whites
  • Mean Spirit
  • Love in Infant Monkeys
  • What I Lived For
  • American Woman
Alice McDermott (born June 27, 1953) is Johns Hopkins University's Writer-in-Residence. Born in Brooklyn, New York, McDermott attended St. Boniface School in Elmont, Long Island, NY [1967], Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead NY [1971], the State University of New York at Oswego, receiving her BA in 1975, and later received her MA from the University of New Hampshire in 1978.

She has taught at the UC
More about Alice McDermott...

Share This Book

“It was not the future they'd been objecting to, but the loss of the past. As if it was his fault that you could now have one without the other” 6 likes
“It was in its strangeness and in its familiarity an illustration of someone else's life going on in its own way, steeped in itself, its own business, its own dailyness, its own particular sorrow or joy, all of it more or less predictable” 3 likes
More quotes…