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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Absolution

Absolution

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A riveting account of women's lives on the margins of the Vietnam War, from the renowned winner of the National Book Award.

You have no idea what it was like. For us. The women, I mean. The wives.

American women--American wives--have been mostly minor characters in the literature of the Vietnam War, but in Absolution they take center stage. Tricia is a shy newlywed, married to a rising attorney on loan to navy intelligence. Charlene is a practiced corporate spouse and mother of three, a beauty and a bully. In Saigon in 1963, the two women form a wary alliance as they balance the era's mandate to be "helpmeets" to their ambitious husbands with their own inchoate impulse to "do good" for the people of Vietnam.

Sixty years later, Charlene's daughter, spurred by an encounter with an aging Vietnam vet, reaches out to Tricia. Together, they look back at their time in Saigon, taking wry account of that pivotal year and of Charlene's altruistic machinations, and discovering how their own lives as women on the periphery--of politics, of history, of war, of their husbands' convictions--have been shaped and burdened by the same sort of unintended consequences that followed America's tragic interference in Southeast Asia.

A virtuosic new novel from Alice McDermott, one of our most observant, most affecting writers, about folly and grace, obligation, sacrifice, and, finally, the quest for absolution in a broken world.

Author: Alice McDermott
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Published: 10/31/2023
Pages: 336
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 0.95lbs
Size: 8.40h x 5.60w x 1.40d
ISBN: 9780374610487

Review Citation(s):
Library Journal Prepub Alert 06/01/2023 pg. 2
Kirkus Reviews 08/15/2023
Publishers Weekly 08/28/2023
Booklist 09/15/2023 pg. 20

About the Author
Alice McDermott is the author of eight novels, including The Ninth Hour, Someone, After This, At Weddings and Wakes, and That Night--all published by FSG. That Night, At Weddings and Wakes, and After This were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. She is also the author of the essay collection What About the Baby?: Some Thoughts on the Art of Fiction. Her stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, and other publications. For more than two decades she was the Richard A. Macksey Professor for Distinguished Teaching in the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University and a member of the faculty at the Sewanee Writers' Conference. McDermott lives with her family outside Washington, DC.

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