Alice McDermott’s hypnotic, evocative novel, Someone, unfolds through a series of snapshots capturing the life of a woman living in Brooklyn before, during, and after the Second World War. The stories are lean and deliberate, and they appear to be randomly assembled, like snapshots pulled from an old shoebox. But as the exquisite images and poignant truths add up, we’re reminded that nothing happens in a McDermott novel by accident. This is a writer in complete control.
The official story was that the war in the Pacific claimed Jimmie Doyle on Sept. 1, 1944, when Japanese antiaircraft fire brought down his B-24 Liberator during a bombing mission over the tiny Palau archipelago. Neither the plane nor a single member of the 11-man crew was ever found. But there was always a second, darker story, and it haunted Jimmie’s son, Tommy, for most of his life.