My Name Is Lucy Barton
A NovelBook - 2016 | First edition.
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.
Praise for My Name Is Lucy Barton
"There is not a scintilla of sentimentality in this exquisite novel. Instead, in its careful words and vibrating silences, My Name Is Lucy Barton offers us a rare wealth of emotion, from darkest suffering to--'I was so happy. Oh, I was happy'--simple joy." --Claire Messud, The New York Times Book Review
"Spectacular . . . Smart and cagey in every way. It is both a book of withholdings and a book of great openness and wisdom. . . . [Strout] is in supreme and magnificent command of this novel at all times." --Lily King, The Washington Post
"A short novel about love, particularly the complicated love between mothers and daughters, but also simpler, more sudden bonds . . . It evokes these connections in a style so spare, so pure and so profound the book almost seems to be a kind of scripture or sutra, if a very down-to-earth and unpretentious one." --Marion Winik, Newsday
"Potent with distilled emotion. Without a hint of self-pity, Strout captures the ache of loneliness we all feel sometimes." -- Time
"An aching, illuminating look at mother-daughter devotion." -- People
"A quiet, sublimely merciful contemporary novel about love, yearning, and resilience in a family damaged beyond words." -- The Boston Globe
"Sensitive, deceptively simple . . . It is Lucy's gentle honesty, complex relationship with her husband, and nuanced response to her mother's shortcomings that make this novel so subtly powerful. . . . [It's] more complex than it first appears, and all the more emotionally persuasive for it." -- San Francisco Chronicle
"Strout maps the complex terrain of human relationships by focusing on that which is often unspoken and only implied. . . . A powerful addition to Strout's body of work." -- The Seattle Times
"Impressionistic and haunting . . . [Strout] reminds us of the power of our stories--and our ability to transcend our troubled narratives." -- Miami Herald
"Writing of this quality comes from a commitment to listening, from a perfect attunement to the human condition, from an attention to reality so exact that it goes beyond a skill and becomes a virtue." --Hilary Mantel
"Magnificent." --Ann Patchett
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From the critics
QuotesAdd a Quote
"But really, the ruthlessness, I think, comes in grabbing onto myself, in saying: This is me, and I will not go where I can't bear to go - to Amgash, Illinois - and I will not stay in a marriage when I don't want to, and I will grab myself and hurl onward through like, blind as a bat, but on I go! This is the ruthlessness, I think."
There was a time and it was many years ago now when I had to stay in a hospital for almost nine weeks.
"I felt the cold-hot shock that comes from being struck without warning; my husband was an only child, and my mother had told me long before that such a "condition" as she put it, could only lead to selfishness in the end."
SummaryAdd a Summary
From a simple hospital visit comes a tender story about a relationship between one daughter and her mother.
Lucy is slowly recovering from surgery. Her mother, with whom she hasn’t spoken in many years, appears at her bedside. Over the course of five days, the two exchange gossip from the past. These stories seem to reconnect them. Below the surface though lies tension that governed Lucy’s life and caused her to escape her troubled family, helped her become a writer, divorce her husband and define her love of two daughters. Strout tugs at our heartstrings as Lucy’s life unfolds because we, too, can identify with incidents similar to our lives. Short and bitter-sweet.
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