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A Bigamist's Daughter

2.94 of 5 stars 2.94  ·  rating details  ·  390 ratings  ·  54 reviews
The New York Times Bestselling Author of After This and Charming Billy

Elizabeth Connelly, editor at a New York vanity press, sells the dream of publication (admittedly, to writers of questionable talent). Stories of true emotional depth rarely cross her desk. But when a young writer named Tupper Daniels walks in, bearing an unfinished novel, Elizabeth is drawn to both the
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 28th 2012 by Picador (first published 1982)
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In a novel that dissects, deconstructs and recreates the fabric of life, love and literature, the author spotlights the world of publishing; the mythology of love, the elusiveness of the love object – all as the centerpiece of this work – formulate the basis for this story.

We begin with Elizabeth Connelly, a single woman living in New York – some time in the twentieth century, before computers or the current Internet generation – and discover her real life as an “editor-in-chief” at what is know
I have read a few other Alice McDermott novels with admiration, but if A Bigamist's Daughter had been my introduction, I would have stopped reading her after this. I can see suggestions in this book of the writer that she becomes, even by her second novel, but in this book she does not seem to have a hold on her talent yet. It just doesn't come together. We spend too much time with secondary characters who drop away; there are too many scenes that don't seem to have much bearing on the whole. We ...more
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McDermott's debut. While it's well-written - her use of language is consistently exceptional, her plots are always interesting yet the turf is familiar and easy to identify for Catholic (especially Irish) Baby Boomers, and her characters subtly complex - this was not my favorite of her books. I guess I just didn't like Elizabeth - the aloofness, the lying, the casual love affairs - or her Mom, for some of the same reasons. The book was somewhat slow reading, possibly because I was not warming to ...more
I have read many books were I didn't really like it, but was still able to appreciate it and finish it. This was different because I just didn't like it at all. (I did finish it though)

I feel like the whole book should be read with melancholy music in the background...imagine it and that's how the whole book is like...except a thousand times more pretentious. The main character of Elizabeth lives her whole life with herself as the tortured female lead in her own mental drama. She manipulates the
Megan Baxter
I've read a few later Alice McDermott books, ones that centre more around Irish-American families, and while I can't say I adored them, they certainly struck me more than this book, one of her first, if not her very first, novels. A Bigamist's Daughter, well, I just can't quite figure out what this book is supposed to be about, or even how it is about it. It's fairly mediocre.

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A debut for Alice. Not the same quality as her later books. I had a difficult time getting into it, and staying into it.
I read this slowly for a quilt of reasons, largely because it's so beautiful, quietly gorgeous, and partly because the central kernel is based on the self-pub company where I work (and where Alice McDermott worked thirty years before me). Despite the wry amusement of how nothing changes in certain corners of New York, this book is devastatingly lovely, honest, raw emotion tucked deep within the characters. One I will re-read over again in different seasons of life, and underline different passag ...more
Lucy Montgomery
This was another book I found on my 2011 book-a-day calendar. I have read other books by Alice McDermott so I expected a melancholy vibe. In addition to this, however, I found the book moved slowly, the characters remained largely undeveloped and the plot lines were simply depressing. I do think Ms. McDermott is a good writer but find that this (and most of her other books that I've read) are just not enjoyable to read. I would not recommend it!
Having read and immensely enjoyed other Alice McDermott novels, I was eager to read her debut novel. I definitely believed her work took an upward trajectory; A Bigamist's Daughter was intriguing, but never consistently engaging. Yet there were glimmers of the brilliant prose that I so loved in After This, et al.
"In this moment, I thought, there will be the thrill of his definite presence, of her single definite word. In this next moment, she will begin to speak and whatever word she chooses wi
Oct 29, 2008 Mona rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with a bad case of insomnia.
I put down this book once because it was so boring. The second time I picked it up, I was determined to finish it...and it was still boring.

I kept forgetting who the protagonist was and why she started a relationship with the writer. The plot made no sense and got interesting around page 200 for about 50 pages then petered right back out.

This book was really disappointing considering her premise is interesting.
Helena Claire
I picked this up because I loved Alice McDermott's Someone and wanted to read more by her.

I take it that this was an early novel, and it shows both her unevenness and her promise. I didn't like any of the characters in the book except perhaps Ward, and I kept waiting for some development in the main characters that never took place. They all seem to walk away from the experiences unchanged - if anything, confirmed in their delusions.

The language, on the other hand, showed the vividness that I re
Sarah Gray
This book may be interesting if you subscribe to a traditional view of gender and believe that women are innately tied to and less than men.

Otherwise, avoid this.
Man this book was hard to follow... I think there might've been an awesome story in there somewhere...if only I could've found it.
The plot seemed contrived. Did not get the MO of the main character --
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A well-done novel--particularly impressive that it was McDermott's first. I'm not very familiar with her work. I read That Night several years ago after watching its film adaptation on TV (back when C. Thomas Howell still had a career), but it didn't inspire me to seek out her other books. And then a few years ago she was the keynote speaker at a writers' conference I attended, and she was awful. I can't even remember why exactly; I think she just read a speech she had already presented somewher ...more
Ma'lis Wendt
Alice McDermott's first novel follows a young vanity press editor as she works with a new young male author on his book about a bigamist. Elizabeth thinks of her father as a bigamist and explores her thoughts of love, marriage and her relationships through Tupper's book. I found it rather confusing.
Ena Weverink
I chose this book because of the author and that's also the reason I stuck it out to the end. It was okay but not my thing.
Carolyn Elrod
Certainly not as good as "Someone", but still a pretty good read. I will be picking up some more of her books.
Very good but sad story about a vanity press editor and a relationship with one of her authors.
Joann Amidon
I tried to listen to this book but finally had to give up. For me it was going no where. I have too many books to read and not enough time.
Elizabeth Rowe
I thought it was incredibly slow starting out, was fairly captivating and well written in the middle, but the ending chapters were one big wall of subtext, and I've never been able to intuit deeper and hidden meanings, so that was a bummer ending.
Wasn't too sure about this one. Writing at the beginning was good, then it sort of became confusing as to what the whole point of it was, it never seemed to be solved near nor at the end.
Sheila TC
Not as good as her later books, all of which I loved.
For a first outing, readable and "A" for effort; and if it helped bring about the maturing which gave us "Charming Billy" than I will excuse the young Ms. McDermott for the repetitive, transparent story line of a woman constantly seeking her disappearing father and unattainable constancy. Feels very dated.
This was a very interesting tale, as all of Alice McDermott's books seem to be. You've got some Roman Catholic issues, and some interesting young woman identity issues, plus some issues of different ways of telling stories. Haven't thought about that, but all of these people are story tellers in one way or the other. A lot of her books seem to have something about the lies we tell each other and ourselves, and this one leaves you wondering if she'll change before the end of the book. I won't tel ...more
Didn't finish. It was written early in McDermott's career. She sure has grown - it is as though she was an amateur writing this book and became a professional with the release of "Charming Billy"
Laura Carter
This book was actually the worst. Half the time I couldn't keep track of what was going on! The author kept switching from referring to the main character as "she" , "I", and "Elizabeth". I'm pretty sure we learned in like grade 5 not to do that.
And the story was just all over the place! Even now, I'm not quite sure what was really going on! The whole bigamist thing was really really vague. It was used as more of a metaphor. Definitely wouldn't recommend this book.
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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...
Someone Charming Billy After This Child of My Heart That Night

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