Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Meet Lucy Barton

I have read two of Elizabeth Strout’s other novels. I value the depth of her characters. Her newest book, My Name Is Lucy Barton, did not disappoint!

The thing I most enjoy about reading Strout’s work is the amount of story you find by reading between the lines and listening to the silent spaces. It’s there that my soul and heart connect to these characters and their experiences, as I imagine is true for the vast majority of Strout’s readers—giving each of us the opportunity to be, on some small, yet meaningful way, co-creators with her in the weaving of the story.

Lucy Barton is the teller of this tale, which is an exercise in piecing together the moments and memories that make a life. The story reminded me of my own moments of nostalgia and flashback to the instances that have led me to this precise moment on my own life’s journey--poignant recollections of the people, places, and events that shape a person.

There is rich fodder here for book club discussions. Anyone who enjoys reading novels focused on character studies must read My Name Is Lucy Barton. This book left me pondering the nature of familial relationships, the lasting and generational effects that poverty, neglect, and abuse have on people, the bond between mothers and daughters, and the meaning of “home” to name just a few. This book will linger with me, as did Strout’s others.

From the Publisher . . .

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A new book by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout is cause for celebration. Her bestselling novels, including Olive Kitteridge and The Burgess Boys, have illuminated our most tender relationships. Now, in My Name Is Lucy Barton, this extraordinary writer shows how a simple hospital visit becomes a portal to the most tender relationship of all—the one between mother and daughter.

Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable.

About the Author . . .

Elizabeth Strout is the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Olive Kitteridge, as well as The Burgess Boys, a New York Times bestseller; Abide with Me, a national bestseller; and Amy and Isabelle, which won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in England. Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker and O: The Oprah Magazine. Elizabeth Strout lives in New York City.

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