TITLE: AT WEDDINGS AND WAKES
AUTHOR: ALICE MCDERMOTT
PUBLISHER: FARRAR, STRAUS & GIROUX 213 PAGES; $19
THE BOTTOM LINE: McDermott secures her reputation as a mesmerizing storyteller
IT GIVES NOTHING AWAY TO REVEAL that near the end of Alice McDermott's lyrical novel At Weddings and Wakes, there is a joyous wedding celebration. The bride, an aging ex-nun, allows herself to be swirled by her staid groom, a mailman who unexpectedly proves a sure-footed dancer. Even Momma, the embittered matriarch of the Irish-American Towne clan, permits herself a few sentimental tears. But when the party ends, Momma reminds the Roman Catholic celebrators...