The world was a cruder, more vulgar place than the one I had known. This was the language required to live in it, I supposed.

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott

Profession: Author
Nationality: American

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My parents were both first-generation Irish Catholics raised in Brooklyn.

The banging at the door was his excuse to turn away—some people had their coats in there—and while he stood with his back to her she dressed again and unlocked the door and walked out. She smiled at the taunts and jeers of her friends and when someone asked, Where's Mike? she said, I think I killed him, which got a great laugh.

I think it's handy for a dramatist of any sort, if I can call myself that, to make use of weddings and wakes, to make use of those moments and those rituals that cause us to pause and look back or look forward and understand that life has changed.

There was... her capacity to believe. There was as well her capacity to be deceived, since you can't have one without the other...

Mr. Persichetti was a night nurse at the state hospital, inspired.

The paper detritus that she had somewhere read, or had heard it said, trails armies, or was it (she had seen a photograph) the scraps of letters and wrappers and snapshots that blow across battlefields after all but the dead have fled?

It's sometimes more torment for a man, Mr. Fagin said, to consider what might have been than to live with what is.

Character is primary. What happens as far as plot and events is not as intriguing to me as what's happening inside this particular person.

Once you learn to do it, you'll be expected to do it.

Why not? but without conviction, confirming for them both that this was a sudden impulse that most likely would not last out the afternoon. What if I come by at seven? he said.

I was the youngest; I had two imperious older brothers - I didn't get to often complete sentences at the dinner table. So writing was a way of saying what nobody asked me to say.

Some readers sort of suspect that you have another book that you didn't publish that has even more information in it. I think that readers sort of want to be taught something. They have this idea that there's a takeaway from a novel rather than just the being there, which I think is the great, great pleasure of reading.

I'm a novelist. I'm not a crusader, and I'm not an editorial writer. And I'm not writing fiction to convince anybody of anything.

I think a misconception among many non-religious people is that anyone with a strong faith is, in all ways and at all times, blindly consistent, unwavering, unquestioning.