Two Irish families, living side by side in suburban New York, are tied by the similarities of their path into the neighborhood and by a tragic event of a single night that reverberates across multiple generations for decades. Mary Beth Keane paints a subtle portrait of families dealing with mental health issues and long-held secrets, and the desire for connection across those divides. The result is a deeply felt and immersive novel, one that ties you not only to the characters but ultimately to their lessons for life. Perfect for fans of Ann Patchett and Celeste Ng and one of my favorite reads this year.
June 2019 Indie Next List
“Ask Again, Yes is a compelling, heartbreaking, yet ultimately hopeful novel. Mary Beth Keane is incredibly talented; she does not sugar coat, instead giving readers a compulsively readable family drama. I did not expect to become so completely engrossed in these characters’ stories — two families whose lives become inextricably linked by young love and personal tragedy. Their myriad mistakes and attempts to atone beautifully demonstrate the power and grace found in forgiveness.”
— Anderson McKean, Page and Palette, Fairhope, AL
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * The Tonight Show Summer Reads Pick *
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR by People, Vogue, Parade, NPR, and Elle
“One of the most unpretentiously profound books I’ve read in a long time…modestly magnificent.” —Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air
“A beautiful novel, bursting at the seams with empathy.” –Elle
How much can a family forgive?
A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the friendship between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, the daily intimacies of marriage, and the power of forgiveness.
Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, rookie cops in the NYPD, live next door to each other outside the city. What happens 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 explosive events to come.
Ask Again, Yes is a deeply affecting exploration of the lifelong friendship and love that blossoms between Kate Gleeson and Peter Stanhope, born six months apart. One shocking night their loyalties are divided, and their bond will be tested again and again over the next 40 years. Luminous, heartbreaking, and redemptive, Ask Again, Yes reveals the way childhood memories change when viewed from the distance of adulthood—villains lose their menace and those who appeared innocent seem less so. Kate and Peter’s love story, while haunted by echoes from the past, is marked by tenderness, generosity, and grace.
About the Author
Mary Beth Keane attended Barnard College and the University of Virginia, where she received an MFA. She has been named one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35,” and was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship for fiction writing. She currently lives in Pearl River, New York with her husband and their two sons. She is the author of The Walking People, Fever, and Ask Again, Yes.
"Narrator Molly Pope delivers this character-driven exploration of two families whose stories intertwine over decades. With sensitivity and insight, she creates believable, multilayered characters, leading listeners through shifting narratives across time. Keane's exploration of love, family, mistakes, and regret is rooted in the long haul of everyday life and considers how perspectives and consequences shift and shade over time. Rookie New York cops Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope become neighbors and begin families next door to each other; eventually, they experience a rift that shocks their neighborhood, complicating—but never destroying—the bond between their children. Pope's steady pace and excellent voicing of dialogue work well. Like the event at its center, this story unfolds with long-lasting reverberations for listeners." — AudioFile Magazine