Ask Again, Yes

Mary Beth Keane. Scribner, $27 (400p) ISBN 978-1-9821-0698-0
In her thoughtful, compassionate latest, Keane (Fever) traces two families’ shared history over the course of four decades. When Brian Stanhope and Francis Gleeson meet in 1973, they forge the kind of quick, close-knit friendship that can arise from shared trials—in their case, the pressures of being rookie cops in a tough Bronx precinct. When both young men marry and plan to have children, they purchase neighboring homes in the fictional suburb of Gillam, hoping the 20-mile commute to the city will provide a sufficient buffer between the grind of police work and the pleasures of family life. All is not well in suburbia, however—although Francis’s youngest daughter, Kate, and Brian’s only son, Peter, become fast friends, tensions between the two families eventually flare into violence fueled by alcoholism and untreated mental illness. Years later, Kate and Peter grasp a chance for a hesitant new beginning, despite their fears about recapitulating the past. The two families’ stories offer a visceral portrait of evolving attitudes toward mental health and addiction over the past 40 years. More generally, Keane’s novel, which unfolds through overlapping narratives, illustrates the mutability of memory and the softening effects of time. “We repeat what we don’t repair,” Keane writes, and Kate and Peter’s story poignantly demonstrates how grace can emerge from forgiveness, no matter how hard-won. (June)
Reviewed on : 03/29/2019
Release date: 05/28/2019
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 978-1-982107-00-0
Downloadable Audio - 400 pages - 978-1-5082-8653-0
Book - 978-1-982106-99-7
Library Binding - 978-1-4328-6718-8
Compact Disc - 400 pages - 978-1-5082-9783-3
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-1-982130-08-4
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