Ask Again, Yes
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About the Author
MARY BETH KEANE attended Barnard College and earned an MFA from the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns fellow. She was a winner of the Chicago Tribune's Nelson Algren Prize in 2004 and was a 2005 Pushcart Prize nominee.
--Matthew Thomas, author of We Are Not Ourselves
"Mary Beth Keane is at the height of her powers in this novel about the sacrifices we make when we choose to build a life with someone. In Ask Again Yes, Keane tells a story about the fragility of happiness, the violence lurking beneath everyday life, and, ultimately, the power of love. If you've ever loved someone beyond reason, you will love this wise, tender, and beautiful book."
--Eleanor Henderson, author of Ten Thousand Saints
"Mary Beth Keane combines Joan Didion's exacting eye for detail with the emotional wallop of Alice McDermott. From the ache of first love to the recognition that the people closest to us are flawed and human, Ask Again, Yes is a moving testament to the necessary act of forgiveness. It is heartbreaking, hopeful, and honest."
--Brendan Mathews, author of The World of Tomorrow
"One of the most unpretentiously profound books I've read in a long time... Keane writes with deep familiarity and precision about the lives of this particular generation... As a writer, Keane reminds me a lot of Ann Patchett: Both have the magical ability to seem to be telling 'only' a closely-observed domestic tale that transforms into something else deep and, yes, universal. In Keane's case, that 'something else' is a story about forgiveness and acceptance... modestly magnificent."
--Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air
"A beautiful novel, bursting at the seams with empathy."
--Brianna Kovan, Elle
"Keane's novel is a rare example of propulsive storytelling with profound insights about blame, forgiveness and abiding love."
"A profound story... Keane's gracefully restrained prose gives her characters dignity... shows how difficult forgiveness can be--and how it amounts to a kind of hard-won grace."
"Keane writes with acute sensitivity and her characters are consistently, authentically lived-in. . . . smartly told."
"Mary Beth Keane takes on one of the most difficult problems in fiction--how to write about human decency. In Ask Again, Yes, Keane creates a layered emotional truth that makes a compelling case for compassion over blame, understanding over grudge, and the resilience of hearts that can accept the contradictions of love."
-- Louise Erdrich, author of The Round House
"Ask Again, Yes is a powerful and moving novel of family, trauma, and the defining moments in people's lives. Mary Beth Keane is a writer of extraordinary depth, feeling and wit. Readers will love this book, as I did."
--Meg Wolitzer, author of The Female Persuasion
"Keane's story embraces family lives in all their muted, ordinary, yet seismic shades... offers empathy and the long view... Tender and patient, the novel avoids excessive sweetness while planting itself deep in the soil of commitment and attachment. Graceful and mature. A solidly satisfying, immersive read."
--Kirkus (starred review)
"Thoughtful, compassionate... illustrates the mutability of memory and the softening effects of time... poignantly demonstrates how grace can emerge from forgiveness."
"Beautifully observed. . . . Ask Again, Yes is a tale that will compel readers to think deeply about the ravages of unacknowledged mental illness, questions of family love and loyalty, and the arduous journey towards forgiveness."
--BookPage, starred review
"Stunning! An absolutely brilliant, gorgeously-written novel by a fearless writer. Ask Again, Yes is both haunting and hopeful, like life itself. It's the consummate epic family story, one I can't stop thinking and talking about. A must-read for our time."
--Lisa Taddeo, author of Three Women
"Her characters are flawed, thoughtful, hard-working people trying to make sense of ordinary and sometimes impossible events, and dealing with the ripple effects of the past on the present... a thought-provoking family drama and a testament to the power of forgiveness."
"A gut-wrenching tale."
"This is one beautiful book. I was wowed by Keane's writing and narrative skill--and by what she knows about trouble."
--Stephen King "I devoured this astonishing tale of two families linked by chance, love, and tragedy. Mary Beth Keane gives us characters so complex and alive that I find myself still thinking of them days after turning the final page. A must-read."
--J. Courtney Sullivan, author of Saints for All Occasions