Alice McDermott—the surprise of a literary lifetime

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Earlier today, at the Shindig booth at the BEA, my friend Lynn Rosen whispered two words into my ear: Alice McDermott.

She's here? I asked.

Lynn pointed, and I went running. Alice McDermott—the Alice McDermott. A woman I hold in the highest esteem. A woman who stood by my side at the National Book Awards in 1998 and whose books—every single one—have left me devastated.

Risking rudeness (for I was receiving that sweet, sweet Armchair BEA Award for Small Damages and Danielle Smith was near), I stood in that Alice McDermott line, determined to get a copy of her new novel. I had no idea if she would remember me. It wouldn't matter if she did. I simply wanted to read her again, to be restored by her story and words.

And so I got a copy of Someone, Alice's seventh novel. And so I slipped it into my bag. And so I walked the floor and sat with Jen Doll and met the wonderful Chronicle team and then left the event to find my son and sit with him in a place called Tracks. And then I rode two trains, and it wasn't until I was three stops from home that I took Someone out of my bag and held it to my heart and then (the way we do) slowly turned it over to read the jacket copy.

To find my own words, from a review written long ago.

I am stunned.

Beyond honored.

One of the most extraordinary gifts in my literary life.

4 comments:

kelly said...

Wow, what a lovely full-circle moment. Why, it's downright BEA-utiful

Patty Chang Anker said...

That is perfect in every way. Mmmmmm!

patty mccormick said...

Wow! No wonder she included your review on the jacket. It's as beautifully written, as quiet and elegant, as an Alice McDermott book.

so cool.

Lilian Nattel said...

What a wonderful surprise!

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