Ask Again, Yes

Ask Again, Yes

A mutli-generational family saga that tugs at the heart

This novel is near perfection. The characters feel real, the pacing is well-metered, the writing style superb. The plot is tumultuous while remaining realistic. The work as a whole captures difficult subjects like mental illness and substance abuse with grace. All in all, there is little to complain about and many readers agree. Ask Again, Yes is being heralded as one of the best books of 2019.

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About the Book

A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the friendship between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, and the power of forgiveness.

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope are two NYPD rookies assigned to the same Bronx precinct in 1973. They aren’t close friends on the job, but end up living next door to each other outside the city. What goes on behind closed doors in both houses – the loneliness of Francis’ wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne, sets the stage for the stunning events to come.

Ask Again, Yes by award-winning author Mary Beth Keane, is a beautifully moving exploration of the friendship and love that blossoms between Francis’ youngest daughter, Kate, and Brian’s son, Peter, who are born six months apart. In the spring of Kate and Peter’s eighth grade year, a violent event divides the neighbors, the Stanhopes are forced to move away, and the children are forbidden to have any further contact.

But Kate and Peter find a way back to each other, and their relationship is tested by the echoes from their past. Ask Again, Yes reveals how the events of childhood look different when reexamined from the distance of adulthood – villains lose their menace, and those who appeared innocent seem less so. Kate and Peter’s love story is marked by tenderness, generosity, and grace.

“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)

“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 AgainYes 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)

Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Scribner Books
Publication Year: 2019
Format: Hardcover
Length: 400

This book was the best book I've read this year.
For a character-based reader like me, this book is pure nirvana. It brought me to my knees. After finishing the last page, I wanted to reach out to every literary reader I know and say, “You must read this.”
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About the Author
Mary Beth Keane

Mary Beth Keane is the author of The Walking People (2009) and Fever (2013), about the life of Typhoid Mary. She attended Barnard College and the University of Virginia, where she received an MFA in Fiction. In 2011, she was named one of the National Book Foundation's 5 under 35. She is a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow and lives just outside New York City with her husband and their two sons.

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