The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermot
On a dim winter afternoon in Catholic Brooklyn, a young Irish immigrant opens the gas taps in his Brooklyn tenement. In the aftermath of the fire that follows, Sister St. Savior, an aging nun appears, unbidden, to direct the way forward for his widow and his unborn child. His suicide reverberates over the decades as decorum, superstition and shame collude to erase the man's brief existence.
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