Review: Charming Billy

Charming Billy
Charming Billy by Alice McDermott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Good fiction wrecks me, and this novel wrecked me. At least intermittently. It is a story about an extended Irish Catholic family from New York, their loss of a friend and husband (the story starts at the funeral so that is not a spoiler), and how the trajectory of their lives are changed by the choices that all of them make.

I enjoyed that it was not written in chronological order, as some events in the past carry more weight by knowledge of the future. The narrative voice was confusing at times, sometimes easily identifiable as one of the characters and at other times seeming omniscient, describing the person who the reader thinks is the teller of the story.

There were religious undercurrents but not the abstract theology that gets awkwardly wedged into bad Christian novels.

By the end I cared deeply for the characters.

View all my reviews

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