08 November 2019

Ask Again, Yes

Photo of the book cover of Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
Literary Fiction
Women's Fiction
Contemporary Fiction
A 2019 Top Rated Read

By Mary Beth Keane

Paperback 384 pages
Publisher Penguin (5th Mar 2020)

'Has the makings of a future classic.' Daily Mirror

📕My Review

I thought Ask Again, Yes was an incredible read. Such a tragic, heartbreaking story told through beautiful, fluid writing. This book will remain in my thoughts for a long time to come. It's most definitely one of my favourite reads this year.

Two families are torn apart by one catastrophic event. The ripples spread far and wide affecting both the present and the future; shaping their entire lives. 

Far from being my usual sort of read, I was initially skeptical. But a few chapters in, it quickly became apparent this was going to be something special. It's not often a book emotionally moves me but Ask Again, Yes moved me in ways I never imagined possible. The Stanhopes and the Gleesons were brought to life with astonishing clarity; they became a part of my life and I theirs. 

Multiple gritty topics are handled with compassion and empathy - namely mental health, alcoholism, abandonment and betrayal - at times making for very uncomfortable reading. But to counterbalance, there are many uplifting moments too - friendship, forgiveness, resilience, love and hope.

I really cannot recommend this fantastic book highly enough. I'm so pleased to have had the opportunity and privilege to read it. My thanks to the author and publisher.         

Book Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐

📗The Blurb

A gripping and compassionate drama of two families linked by chance, love and tragedy.

Gillam, upstate New York: a town of ordinary, big-lawned suburban houses. The Gleesons have recently moved there and soon welcome the Stanhopes as their new neighbours.

Lonely Lena Gleeson wants a friend but Anne Stanhope - cold, elegant, unstable - wants to be left alone.

It's left to their children - Lena's youngest, Kate, and Anne's only child, Peter - to find their way to one another. To form a friendship whose resilience and love will be almost broken by the fault line dividing both families, and by the terrible tragedy that will engulf them all.

A tragedy whose true origins only become clear many years later . . .

A story of love and redemption, faith and forgiveness, 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.

A story of how, if we're lucky, the violence lurking beneath everyday life can be vanquished by the power of love.

📘The Author

Photo of author Mary Beth Keane
Mary Beth Keane attended Barnard College and the University of Virginia, where she received an MFA. She was awarded a John S. Guggenheim fellowship for fiction writing, and has received citations from the National Book Foundation, PEN America, and the Hemingway Society. 

She is the author of The Walking People, Fever, and most recently, Ask Again, Yes, which spent eight weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List. 

To date, translation rights to Ask Again, Yes have sold in sixteen languages, with most translated editions forthcoming in 2020-21. Both Fever and Ask Again, Yes are in development to become limited television series.

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