In April 1984, 47 members of the Lynch Family gather to bury their relative Billy, who died, arguably, either of alcoholism or his own romantic nature. It is a story about an extended Irish family and how the intricate webs of faith and human weakness moves lives. The book raises the question whether love is the shaper of human destiny, or whether "With so many other forces at work in the world, brutal, sly, deceiving, unstoppable forces, what could be more foolish than staking your life on an ephemeral feeling, no more than an idea, really, a fancy, the culmination of which is a clumsy bit of nakedness, a few minutes of animal grunting and bumping, a momentary obliteration of thought, of conscience? " Another theme seems to be an unflinching and unromantic look at what it is to be "one of the many million, just one more". All the characters fight against it, in their unwillingness to look the littleness of their lives in the eye, in their need to glorify Billy. No one character struggles with total success. Characters come into focus slowly. The first Rosemary to be introduced is "another cousin, yet another Rosemary." An intriguing phrase when the reader has not yet met any Rosemarys. Daniel Lynch, one of the largest characters in the book-- in the number of lives he touched, and in his legend after his death--is but one of several Daniel Lynches. Billy returns to Ireland and sees everyone he knows' face repeated over and over again. Even the narrator is anonymous and vague; the book is first person, and yet the narrator, Glory, isn't named until the last ten pages, and her identity is held simply as her father's child for most of the book. McDermott constantly challenges the reader with the point of view and with the telling and retelling of the same events. It is skillfully written, deepens upon reflection, and despite its challenges, not difficult going. A deserving book that lingers after finishing.