Academy Street by Mary Costello

Academy Street

Mary Costello

This poignant life story spanning six decades, from the backward rural West of Ireland in the 1940s to lively New York in the nineties, was a BBC Book at Bedtime. The understated yet evocative character study conveys the melancholy of unfulfilled promise and regret, without being sentimental and is worth reading for the beautiful prose style alone.

Extract

Slowly, in the months that followed, Tess tuned to the frequency of the city, to the accents and the street-grid and the subway, to the black faces on the sidewalk, the sirens at night, the five-and-ten-cent stores teeming with goods, and buildings that rose up daily from gaps in the streets. The new words too – pocket-book, meatloaf, lima beans, Jell-O. The taste of coffee, the clothes so lovely and cheap and slim-fitting. The abundance of everything.

Parallels
  • Someone by Alice McDermott
  • Brooklyn by Colum Toibin
  • Anything by Maeve Brennan

Books with similar mood

In the Falling Snow

Caryl Phillips

Skinjob

Bruce McCabe

The White Woman on the Green Bicycle

Monique Roffey

The Seven Sisters

Margaret Drabble

Losing It

Jane Asher

Onward Toward What We're Going Toward

Ryan Bartelmay

Rumours of a Hurricane

Tim Lott

Personality

Andrew O'Hagan

All Grown Up

Jami Attenberg

Deaf Sentence

David Lodge

The Angry Gods

Wendy Brandmark

The Amateur Marriage

Anne Tyler

Ancient Promises

Jaishree Misra

The Freedom Thing

Phil Hogan

The Vintage and the Gleaning

Jeremy Chambers

A Ship Made of Paper

Scott Spencer

Ghost World

Daniel Clowes

Lizka and her Men

Alexander Ikonnikov

Demo

Alison Miller

The Cookbook Collector

Allegra Goodman

Lovesong

Alex Miller

Give Us This Day

Jonathan Tulloch

The Informer

Akimitsu Takagi

Derby Day

D J Taylor

Eve Green

Susan Fletcher

Darling?

Heidi Jon Schmidt

No Great Mischief

Alistair MacLeod

The Immigrant

Manju Kapur

Undiscovered Country

Christina Koning

Nirvana Bites

Debi Alper

Benediction

Kent Haruf

The P45 Diaries

Ben Hatch

Voice of America

E C Osondu

December Heat

Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza

The Broken Places

Susan Perabo

Dream Room

Marcel Moring

The Rights of Desire

Andre Brink

Ghost MacIndoe

Jonathan Buckley

Fasting, Feasting

Anita Desai

The Greening of Larry Mahon

Dave Duggan

Across the Lakes

Amal Chatterjee

Island of Wings

Karin Altenberg

Sweet Offerings

Chan Ling Yap

Canvey Island

James Runcie

Daughters

Paule Marshall

The Saving Graces

Patricia Gaffney

The Tin Man

Martin Shannon

Missing Joe

Stephen Thompson

The Light Between Oceans

M L Stedman