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Mary Beth Keane



Mary Beth Keane attended Barnard College and earned an MFA from the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns Fellow. She was a winner of the Chicago Tribune's Nelson Algren Prize in 2004 and was a 2005 Pushcart Prize nominee. She currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband and son.

Genres: Literary Fiction
 
Novels
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Mary Beth Keane recommends
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Expectation (2019)
Anna Hope
"Expectation by Anna Hope brings to vivid life that particular tension one feels just before middle age, when it begins to become clear that life won’t end up looking exactly the way we thought it would. The female friendships here are ones we’ll all recognize, and in seeing myself in each of these women – their good moments and their bad - I felt implicated in their stories, and in this book. It’s an outstanding novel."
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The Dearly Beloved (2019)
Cara Wall
"When I began reading The Dearly Beloved I braced for piety, worried it might be a book only a believer could appreciate. Instead, I found myself carried along by Cara Wall’s luminous prose, and then by these characters and their stories. I saw myself in their doubts, in their hopes. There is no moralizing here, only empathy. When I arrived at the end I felt absolutely lifted by the spirit of the story."
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Valentine (2020)
Elizabeth Wetmore
"My goodness, what a novel. I clutched this book in both hands and by the end I could feel the dust of West Texas on my skin. Elizabeth Wetmore understands the nuances of the human heart better than almost any writer I've read in recent years, and I rooted for these women with everything I have. There is violence here, and despair, but in the end the story is a testament to quiet courage, to hope, to love. Every person should read this extraordinary debut."
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St. Ivo (2020)
Joanna Hershon
"From the very first sentences of St. Ivo, I felt certain I was in good hands. What happens when we can no longer communicate with the people we know best? What happens when what was once fluent between two people becomes indecipherable? Not a tender novel, exactly, though there is tenderness in these pages. In St. Ivo Joanna Hershon paints a portrait of grief, of survival, but also of hope. Anyone who has ever loved fiercely, desperately, will devour this story, as I did. The effect here is cumulative and I found myself reading the final pages with the book gripped in both hands."
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The Book of V. (2020)
Anna Solomon
"In The Book of V., Anna Solomon reaches across centuries to capture the timeliness and timelessness of being a strong, passionate woman in a world governed by men. How far we've come and yet how many of the battles look the same. I was riveted by this searingly inventive, humane, and honest page-turner of a novel."
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The Daughters of Erietown (2020)
Connie Schultz
"Connie Schultz's The Daughters of Erietown is a quiet force of a novel. It crept up on me, much the same way that time creeps up on these characters. I was struck by how well Schultz portrays a full life--childhood to old age--and all the small moments that shape us, for better or for worse. Its ambitious scope will leave readers wanting to curl up with it until they've finished."
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The End of the Day (2020)
Bill Clegg
"Ambitious in scope, tender in detail, Bill Clegg's The End of the Day is a story that crosses boundaries of age, class, gender. Anyone who has a beating heart will find some part of themselves in this story."
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When We Were Young & Brave (2020)
Hazel Gaynor
"In her newest novel, Hazel Gaynor brings the reader all the way to Japanese-occupied China...A story of courage, friendship, and humanity in the bleakest of circumstances, Gaynor takes a slice of true history and brings it to vivid life. I loved these characters and rooted for them all the way."
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Sorrow and Bliss (2020)
Meg Mason
"Brutal, tender, funny, this novel—a portrait of love in all of its many incarnations—came alive for me from the very first page. I saw myself here. I saw the people I love. I am changed by this book."
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We Run the Tides (2021)
Vendela Vida
"The young narrator of Vendela Vida’s new novel is cast out of her friend crew (For what? For nothing) at the moment she and the girls around her are just beginning to understand the power they hold, and how to wield it. There’s violence lurking here, but also humor (it’s funny!), also love. This is one of the best novels about girlhood and female friendship I’ve ever read."
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Rockaway Blue (2021)
Larry Kirwan
"Rockaway Blue blends the elements of a fast-paced detective story with a sweeping family drama, and the result feels both poignant and authentic."
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Vera (2021)
Carol Edgarian
"Reading about the sudden destruction of a world right in the middle of our own 21st century crisis helped me understand that the question we’re asking now is one we’ve asked before: where do we go from here? Vera brings to vivid life a historical moment that defined a city, an era. It’s an extraordinary glimpse into the American DNA."
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The Metal Heart (2021)
Caroline Lea
"The story of true innocents caught up in the machinery of war. Exquisitely researched, beautifully told, this tiny corner of Scotland came alive for me in all of my senses and I found myself rooting for the central characters with all my heart."

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