Charming Billy is the winner of the 1998 National Book Award for Fiction.
Alice McDermott's striking novel, Charming Billy, is a study of the lies that bind and the weight of familial love, of the way good intentions can be as destructive as the truth they were meant to hide.
Billy Lynch's family and friends have gathered to comfort his widow, and to pay their respects to one of the last great romantics. As they trade tales of his famous humor, immense charm, and consuming sorrow, a complex portrait emerges of an enigmatic man, a loyal friend, a beloved husband, an incurable alcoholic.
“This is fiction as good as it gets.” —USA Today
“A luminous and affecting novel.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“There's no one like Alice McDermott for catching the ebullient particulars of the Irish-American sensibility…her touch is light as a feather, her perceptions purely accurate.” —Elle
“McDermott demonstrates anew that she is a writer in a league all her own.” —People
“...a rueful shrug of a novel whose strong, shrewd opening pages should be taught in college writing classes.” —Time