I was surprised when an observant reader recently asked for an update on the pledge made in the post above to read only authors new to me from my last birthday until my next. Ever tried something like this? Which authors were your best discoveries?
Four months in, about half the authors I've newly sampled have a likely place in my reading future. Of the novelists from that group who have a back catalog, Alice McDermott is one I'm really looking forward to spending more time with after my hiatus concludes.
The Ninth Hour (2017) is assured, provocative, and thoroughly engaging. It astounds me how authors like McDermott effortlessly move a narrative across multiple generations. The unnamed narrators of this masterful novel rewind as far back as their great-grandparents. Their family stories are infused with guilt leavened by forgiveness and piety forged by sacrifice. And the prose?
"She felt - it was a flood, a filling up - how delightful it was to love this child, to find her here day after day after day, a tonic for every sorrow. A restorative. A joy."