Ask Again, Yes: A Novel

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INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

**The Tonight Show Summer Reads Pick**

“One of the most unpretentiously profound books I've read in a long time…modestly magnificent.” —Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air

“A beautiful novel, bursting at the seams with empathy.” —Elle

How much can a family forgive?

A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the friendship between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, the daily intimacies of marriage, and the power of forgiveness.

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, rookie cops in the NYPD, live next door to each other outside the city. What happens behind closed doors in both houses—the loneliness of Francis’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne, sets the stage for the explosive events to come.

Ask Again, Yes is a deeply affecting exploration of the lifelong friendship and love that blossoms between Kate Gleeson and Peter Stanhope, born six months apart. One shocking night their loyalties are divided, and their bond will be tested again and again over the next 40 years. Luminous, heartbreaking, and redemptive, Ask Again, Yes reveals the way childhood memories change when viewed from the distance of adulthood—villains lose their menace and those who appeared innocent seem less so. Kate and Peter’s love story, while haunted by echoes from the past, is marked by tenderness, generosity, and grace.
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About the author

Mary Beth Keane attended Barnard College and the University of Virginia, where she received an MFA. She has been named one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35,” and was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship for fiction writing. She currently lives in Pearl River, New York with her husband and their two sons. She is the author of The Walking People, Fever, and Ask Again, Yes.

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4.4
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
May 28, 2019
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9781982107000
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Coming of Age
Fiction / Family Life / General
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The tender, engaging story of a family in pain and a boy whose quest for courage leads him deep into the wilds of Appalachia

In 1948 Madeline Tally leaves her philandering husband and returns home to North Carolina, where she and her thirteen-year-old son, James, move into an ugly purple trailer in the cow pasture behind her father’s farmhouse. Smart and sensitive, James worries that he is somehow responsible for his parents’ separation and feels out of place in the town where he grew up but has not been back to for five years. None of his old friends have time for him anymore, and his only new one is Lester Buck, a poor, peculiar boy who shares James’s love of the outdoors.

In Pittsburgh, Edward Tally spends his nights drinking with his fellow construction workers in the bar downstairs from his new apartment. He tries to tell himself that he is better off without Madeline and James, that he wants to be his own man again, free of the expectations that he was never able to meet. But there is a burden on his heart that cannot be eased by booze or by Paris Pergola, the seductive, moody blonde he has taken up with.

Told from the alternating perspectives of the three Tallys, Thief of Dreams builds to a stunning climax as Edward comes to North Carolina to try to win back his family, and James and Lester get into a vicious fight with a schoolyard bully. With his friend in the hospital and his parents unable to bridge the divide between them, James heads into the frozen forest. What he discovers there will give him enough wisdom and experience to last a lifetime, if he can only make it back to his family alive.
“An intimate family portrait.”
—The New York Times
 
“Eddie Joyce’s terrific first novel is so American that the story might as well have taken place at the base of the Statue of Liberty.”
—Richard Russo
 
“An inside look at one Staten Island family’s struggle with grief . . . [A] poignant, deeply affecting tale.” 
—Martha Stewart Living, a Book Club selection
 
“[A] terrific debut novel. . . . Joyce layers . . . different characters’ perspectives nimbly and skillfully, infusing his portrait of a messy, complicated, loving family with heartfelt emotion.”
—Sara Vilkomerson, Entertainment Weekly, A-
 
A startling and tender portrait of one family’s struggle to make peace with their son’s death

An ingeniously layered narrative, told over the course of one week, Eddie Joyce’s debut novel masterfully depicts an Italian-Irish American family on Staten Island and their complicated emotional history. Ten years after the loss of Bobby—the Amendola family’s youngest son—everyone is still struggling to recover from the firefighter’s unexpected death. Bobby’s mother, Gail; his widow, Tina; his older brothers Peter, the corporate lawyer, and Franky, the misfit; and his father, Michael, have all dealt with their grief in different ways. But as the family gathers together for Bobby Jr.’s birthday party, they must each find a way to accept a new man in Tina’s life while reconciling their feelings for their lost loved one.

In unflinching but lyrical prose, Joyce shows us one mother’s struggle to keep her family together and preserve the memory of her son. Following Gail as she moves from the corner offices of white-shoe Manhattan law firms to the blue-collar gin mills of the outer boroughs, Small Mercies reveals a different New York, one that exists in the hearts and minds of its inhabitants.

Presented through multiple points of view, Small Mercies explores the conflicts and deep attachments that exist within families. Heart-wrenching and profoundly relatable, Joyce’s debut is a love letter to Staten Island and a deeply affecting portrait of an American family.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD LONGLIST • “A feminist jeremiad nested inside a brilliant comic novel—a book that makes you laugh so hard you don’t notice till later that your eyebrows have been singed off.”—Ron Charles, The Washington Post

“Funny, dirty, sly, irresistible.”—New York

A finely observed, timely exploration of marriage, divorce, and the bewildering dynamics of ambition from one of the most exciting writers working today

Toby Fleishman thought he knew what to expect when he and his wife of almost fifteen years separated: weekends and every other holiday with the kids, some residual bitterness, the occasional moment of tension in their co-parenting negotiations. He could not have predicted that one day, in the middle of his summer of sexual emancipation, Rachel would just drop their two children off at his place and simply not return. He had been working so hard to find equilibrium in his single life. The winds of his optimism, long dormant, had finally begun to pick up. Now this.

As Toby tries to figure out where Rachel went, all while juggling his patients at the hospital, his never-ending parental duties, and his new app-assisted sexual popularity, his tidy narrative of the spurned husband with the too-ambitious wife is his sole consolation. But if Toby ever wants to truly understand what happened to Rachel and what happened to his marriage, he is going to have to consider that he might not have seen things all that clearly in the first place.

A searing, utterly unvarnished debut, Fleishman Is in Trouble is an insightful, unsettling, often hilarious exploration of a culture trying to navigate the fault lines of an institution that has proven to be worthy of our great wariness and our great hope.

Alma’s Best Jewish Novel of the Year

“Blisteringly funny, feverishly smart, heartbreaking, and true, Fleishman Is in Trouble is an essential read for anyone who’s wondered how to navigate loving (and hating) the people we choose.”—Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest

“From its opening pages, Fleishman Is in Trouble is shrewdly observed, brimming with wisdom, and utterly of this moment. Not until its explosive final pages are you fully aware of its cunning ferocity. Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s debut is that rare and delicious treat: a page-turner with heft.”—Maria Semple
Mary Beth Keane, named one of the 5 Under 35 by the National Book Foundation, has written a spectacularly bold and intriguing novel about the woman known as “Typhoid Mary,” the first person in America identified as a healthy carrier of Typhoid Fever.

On the eve of the twentieth century, Mary Mallon emigrated from Ireland at age fifteen to make her way in New York City. Brave, headstrong, and dreaming of being a cook, she fought to climb up from the lowest rung of the domestic-service ladder. Canny and enterprising, she worked her way to the kitchen, and discovered in herself the true talent of a chef. Sought after by New York aristocracy, and with an independence rare for a woman of the time, she seemed to have achieved the life she’d aimed for when she arrived in Castle Garden. Then one determined “medical engineer” noticed that she left a trail of disease wherever she cooked, and identified her as an “asymptomatic carrier” of Typhoid Fever. With this seemingly preposterous theory, he made Mallon a hunted woman.

The Department of Health sent Mallon to North Brother Island, where she was kept in isolation from 1907 to 1910, then released under the condition that she never work as a cook again. Yet for Mary—proud of her former status and passionate about cooking—the alternatives were abhorrent. She defied the edict.

Bringing early-twentieth-century New York alive—the neighborhoods, the bars, the park carved out of upper Manhattan, the boat traffic, the mansions and sweatshops and emerging skyscrapers—Fever is an ambitious retelling of a forgotten life. In the imagination of Mary Beth Keane, Mary Mallon becomes a fiercely compelling, dramatic, vexing, sympathetic, uncompromising, and unforgettable heroine.
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