35 pages 1 hour read

Mary Beth Keane

Ask Again, Yes

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2019

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Part 4

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 4 Summary: “Muster”

When Anne was 12, following her mother’s suicide (she drowned herself on Christmas Day in the rough waters of the Irish Sea off Killiney Beach), she lived with a neighbor who sexually abused her for more than four years. Initially, she didn’t understand what the man was doing to her. “It was a bit like a hug except Anne didn’t hug back and he was trembling, clutching her tighter and tighter as the trembling became more violent. Something was happening to him under his clothes” (266). Now, working and supporting herself, Anne makes the four-hour trip to New York to catch a glimpse of her son after he moves in with Kate, first into an apartment and then, after Peter becomes a police officer, into a house in Floral Park.

Anne cannot figure out why her son fell so deeply in love with so plain a girl as Kate, but she feels sure that Kate loves her son. The pain of her estrangement deepens when Kate and Peter become parents: first a son, then a daughter. For months, Anne must content herself with glimpses of her grandchildren; she is sure Kate would never allow her to meet the children, much less watch them.