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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 15 November 2013
This is Marie's story, as narrated by the author, from childhood to old age. Living in Irish-American Brooklyn, the perceptive bespectacled 7 year old Marie watches the goings-on in the street where she lives, waiting for her alcoholic father to return from work. She registers the folk in the road that only later have any meaning. Flitting to and fro in time, the story unfolds around Marie and her family as well as neighbours. All have highs and lows, struggles with life and loves and coping with death and the grief it brings. Having worked for the local undertaker, Marie learns more about the people who have touched on her life after they are dead. She develops an expertise in comforting people in times of personal loss.

Alice McDermott draws us into the everyday lives of the characters in the novel. There is nothing extraordinary going on. She makes us care and understand what happens to them, how they develop and deal with their plights. We empathise with their contrasting emotions of happiness and sadness with compassion. This is a majestic novel written with economical prose that conjures up intense imagery and emotion that is both elegant and humane.
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on 1 October 2015
In SOMEONE, many elements came together for me. The setting is Brooklyn in the 1920's - & beyond. The varied cast is largely Irish-American. A central character is one I cared about. Marie is both unremarkable in her rarity & impossible to forget. I'm a huge lover of American contemporary fiction & this little gem fulfilled all my expectations. Alice McDermott's prose is sensuous; it falls from her pen & onto the page in flashes of bright clarity. An intriguing, beautifully wrought story spanning one woman's eventful, ordinary life reminding us, there is no such thing. All our lives are extraordinary, memorable & of value. Highly recommended.
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on 26 March 2015
Marie's narration begins in the 1920's when she is a child living in an apartment in an Irish-American enclave of Brooklyn. Her home consists of a rather stern mother, a kind but alcoholic father, and her studious, serious older brother Gabe. Marie's friends, the neighbourhood and her family situation come to life with some spare but rounded, atmospheric prose. Over the years, characters develop, as does Marie's experience of life. It is very welcome to read a book which isn't overly long or congested with detail, yet breathes and depicts convincing characters and lives. The essence of a human life is here in these pages, adolescent struggles, loss,work, love, the sense of not knowing what comes next, the intuitive wisdom that is wordless, poignant sometimes (but not depressing) though not without humour, and with a knowing gratitude for the important things. I enjoyed the quality of the writing.
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on 13 February 2015
I was intrigued by the title of this book which led me to read the blurb and, while it is true that nothing very startling happens in Alice McDermott's Someone, this is a remarkably beautiful and well written novel. I am of the view that it is a refreshing change to find an author who can weave a tale of everyday life and enthrall the reader with the sheer magic of her prose and the ease of her story telling.

The setting is the Irish-American enclave in Brooklyn and the protagonist is Marie who holds centre stage for the duration of the story and whom we first encounter as a child sitting on her stoop and waiting for her father to come home from work. The reader meets a wealth of interesting characters over the course of the novel which spans sixty years and we share in the heartbreaks and joys of Marie's life.

I will leave it to readers to enjoy the tale as it unfolds and hope it brings them as much pleasure as I derived from this captivating story.

Recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 23 April 2015
This is not a flashy novel but quietly tells the story of an Irish-American family from Brooklyn in the 1920s to today, focussing on Marie, her brother Gabe and parents. McDermott is subtle and sensitive and deftly covers a lot of ground in a slim book that is, I think, a masterpiece of psychological realism. Highly recommended.
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on 14 April 2014
It took me a long time to read this book, not because it was dull but because I had to keep stopping and rereading a sentence and thinking about it. It's beautifully written and full of insightful phrases: almost poetic. I didn't mind the moving about in time. I thought it illustrated the way Marie aged, as we all do. I will definitely read some more of this author.
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on 8 January 2014
I bought this book because I have Irish American family and was attracted to the theme and McDermott's reputation. It's very well written and is character driven and episodic in format, spanning the 20th century. Despite the quality of the writing I found it quite dreary and only got about halfway through when I decided that I was so unengaged that I couldn't be bothered to finish it. The attention to detail in each scene gives a strong sense of mood but is often at the expense of narrative drive. The episodic format gives the book scope but I often found it difficult to locate the timeframe for different sections. Maybe the cultural references make this easier for American readers to grasp. It's repetitive in places - the endless descriptions of light started to grate with me after a while. It felt like just another misery memoir to me, albeit in more literary wrapping!
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on 4 January 2014
An evocative account of growing up in Brooklyn in the 1920s. McDermott captures the worries and joys of childhood as if one was back in time oneself. Beautifully written and a book to come back to.
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on 3 June 2014
This was (by all accounts) a wonderful book, but in audio format, very let-down by the narrator, Kate Reading. Ms Reading has a sing-song voice, which leaves you waiting for everything to rhyme, or for the interrogative up-lift at the end of most sentences to provide a reply. An annoying, and unrelieved verbal tic, and certainly not expected in a professional. I listen to about 5 audio books a week, and this was one of the poorest -- actually, irritating - narrators -- I've encountered. Not recommended.
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on 13 October 2015
Excellent read
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