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Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Literary fiction

Ask Again, Yes

by Mary Beth Keane

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Quick Take

You'll get wrecked (and put back together).

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Emotional

    Emotional

  • Illustrated icon, Police

    Police

  • Illustrated icon, 400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Suburban

    Suburban drama

Synopsis

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’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne, sets the stage for the stunning events to come.

Ask Again, Yes is a beautifully moving exploration of the friendship and love that blossoms between Francis’s 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.

Why I love it

As a big-hearted, sensitive, and voracious bookworm, I rate books on the way they make me feel and the impression they will leave on my heart. Full of lovely and intimate revelations, Ask Again, Yes left me feeling exposed and crushed, in the best way possible.

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope are NYPD cops, who by chance end up living next door to each other in the same New York City suburb. Despite their working relationship, their wives don’t share the same casual rapport; especially since Brian’s wife (Anne), is a tempestuous woman who trusts no one. Still, there’s no bad blood between the families—at least not until one summer night when a shocking act of violence upends all their lives forever.

After 40 years of following the Stanhopes and the Gleesons (in one luxurious afternoon of reading), these characters had taken up residence in my heart. I knew their vulnerabilities and demons as if they were members of my own family. Not just a literary novel, this book is a staggeringly raw portrayal of mental illness, addiction, and the ties that bind us. I hope you adore it as much as I did.

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Literary fiction
View all
Margo’s Got Money Troubles
Annie Bot
Mercury
The Other Valley
The Bullet Swallower
Alice Sadie Celine
Let Us Descend
Banyan Moon
Shark Heart
Dominicana
What's Mine and Yours
Ask Again, Yes
Vladimir
Infinite Country
The Many Daughters of Afong Moy
Black Buck
Luster
Paper Names
The Light Pirate
The Half Moon
Valentine
Leave the World Behind
Little Monsters
Yerba Buena
Beautiful World, Where Are You
Free Food for Millionaires
Sing, Unburied, Sing
Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?
Future Home of the Living God
Red Clocks
The Mars Room
Eat Only When You're Hungry
Unsheltered
The Goldfinch
Welcome to Braggsville
Heat & Light
Nicotine
Perfect Little World
Someday, Maybe