Recommended Reads: Charming Billy by Alice McDermott (FIC MCD)
This National Book Award winner is set in a tightly knit Irish Catholic Bronx neighborhood in the mid-twentieth century. The novel opens as Billy Lynch's friends and family gather at a small bar after his funeral to share their memories of Billy. The story then moves back and forth in time as various characters describe Billy's life from his return after WWII to his early death from alcoholism at age 47. The power of this novel lies in its lyrically descriptive language and realistic depiction of the struggles and sorrows of an Irish-American community. This is a quiet and contemplative novel recommended for readers who enjoy realistic fiction.