Entertainment Weekly

Subscribe

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content
Emmys 2017
Every unforgettable moment, every gorgeous dress.Click here

Article

CHARMING BILLY

Posted on

Charming Billy

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
Alice McDermott
publisher:
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
genre:
Fiction

We gave it an A

CHARMING BILLY Alice McDermott (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $22) An old alcoholic dies, and 47 of his nearest and dearest gather for mourning and memories. Set entirely on the day of the funeral, this is the dead man’s story, but more than that, it is also an exquisitely rendered portrait of a certain kind of immigrant Irish society. The dead man is, of course, the charming Billy of the title, a man who spent his entire adult life lamenting the death of his wife-to-be with beer and whiskey. His relatives and friends memorialize him and try to justify his fruitless life; tales overlap tales in a singsong pattern of Irish-American brogue and family history. The result evokes a lovely, timeworn miniature. A-