My Name Is Lucy Barton (Hardback)Elizabeth Strout (author)
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Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016
‘This must be the way that most of us manoeuvre through the world, half knowing, half not, visited by memories that can’t possibly be true… So much of life seems speculation.’
My Name is Lucy Barton is a perfect crystallisation of quiet, subtly brilliant talent from one of America’s finest contemporary writers.
Lucy Barton has spent her life running away from her past; from an isolated, penurious upbringing in Illinois where she and her siblings often went hungry. Now Lucy has moved through a faltering marriage to a carefully constructed new life in New York as a writer, replacing rural, open skylines for the Chrysler Building looming large on a tightly enclosed horizon.
When Lucy finds herself recovering in hospital, she is visited unexpectedly by the mother she hasn’t seen for many years. As the two of them talk, a seam of memory is opened wide, forcing Lucy to confront the past she has struggled so hard to keep at bay. As old tensions rise to the surface Lucy tries to accept what her life really amounts to; the many roles she has played, the people she has loved, abandoned and betrayed.
At heart, this is a book about women’s lives, about mothers and daughters and the brittle love that somehow endures beyond distance, longing, pain and loss.
In Lucy Barton, Strout has created an everywoman for our time; tenderly perceptive, humanly frail and utterly unforgettable.
‘Through Lucy Barton, Strout has made a remarkable virtue of the novelist's trick - often missed - of telling enough but not too much. This is a glorious novel, deft, tender and true. Read it.’ The Telegraph
Born in Portland, Maine, Elizabeth Strout has spent her early life in New England before moving to New York. She won a Pulitzer Prize for her third novel Olive Kitteridge which was subsequently made into an award-winning drama by HBO.
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of pages: 208
Weight: 280 g
Dimensions: 206 x 138 x 21 mm
I am deeply impressed. 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. I have never read her before and I knew within a few sentences that here was an artist to value and respect -- Hilary Mantel
Strout's best novel yet -- Ann Patchett
An exquisite novel... 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, New York Times Book Review
So good I got goosebumps... a masterly novel of family ties by one of America's finest writers * Sunday Times *
My Name is Lucy Barton confirms Strout as a powerful storyteller immersed in the nuances of human relationships... Deeply affecting novel...visceral and heartbreaking...If she hadn't already won the Pulitzer for Olive Kitteridge this new novel would surely be a contender * Observer *
Hypnotic...yielding a glut of profoundly human truths to do with flight, memory and longing * Mail on Sunday *
This is a book you'll want to return to again and again and again * Irish Independent *
Slim and spectacular...My Name Is Lucy Barton is smart and cagey in every way. It starts with the clean, solid structure and narrative distance of a fairy tale yet becomes more intimate and improvisational, coming close at times to the rawness of autofiction by writers such as Karl Ove Knausgaard and Rachel Cusk. Strout is playing with form here, with ways to get at a story, yet nothing is tentative or haphazard. She is in supreme and magnificent command of this novel at all times.... * Washington Post *
My Name Is Lucy Barton is a short novel about love, particularly the complicated love between mothers and daughters... 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 * Newsday *
Her concise writing is a masterclass in deceptive simplicity...Strout writes with an exacting rhythm, with each word and clause perfectly placed and weighted and each sentence as clear and bracing as grapefruit. It's a small masterpiece * Daily Mail *
This short, simple, quiet novel wriggles its way right into your heart and stays there * Red *
A beautifully taut novel * Guardian *
Agleam with extraordinary psychological insights...delicate, tender but ruthless reveries * Sunday Express *
An eerie, compelling novel, its deceptively simple language is a 'slight rush of words' which hold much more than they seem capable of containing...This novel is about the need to create a story we can live with when the real story cannot be told... * Financial Times *
Strout uses a different voice herself in this novel: a spare simple one, elegiac in tone that sometimes brings to mind Joan Didion's * The Tablet *
This is a glorious novel, deft, tender and true. Read it * Sunday Telegraph *
An exquisitely written story...a brutally honest, absorbing and emotive read * Catholic Universe *
Honest, intimate and ultimately unforgettable * Stylist *
Sympathetic, subtle and sometimes shocking -- Emma Healey
Plain and beautiful...Strout writes with an extraordinary tenderness and restraint -- Kate Summerscale
One of this year's best novels: an intense, beautiful book about a mother and a daughter, and the difficulty and ambivalence of family life -- Marcel Theroux
Elizabeth Strout's prose is like words doing jazz -- Rachel Joyce
Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge is the best novel I've read for some time -- David Nicholls
An exquisite novel of careful words and vibrating silences * New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books of 2016 *
In this quiet, well observed novel, a mother and her mysteriously ill daughter rebuild their relationship in a New York hospital room. Deft and tender, it lingers in the mind * Daily Telegraph Books of the Year *
A worthy follow-up to Olive Kitteridge -- David Nicholls * Guardian Books of the Year *
I loved My Name is Lucy Barton: she gets better with each book -- Maggie O'Farrell * Guardian Books of the Year *
The standout novel of the year - a visceral account of the relations between mother and daughter and the unreliability of memory -- Linda Grant * Guardian Books of the Year *
In a brilliant year for fiction, I've admired the nuanced restraint of Elizabeth Strout's My Name is Lucy Barton -- Hilary Mantel * Guardian Books of the Year *
Elizabeth Strout's My Name is Lucy Barton shouldn't work, but its frail texture was a triumph of tenderness, and sent me back to her excellent Olive Kitteridge -- Cressida Connolly * The Spectator *
A rich account of a relationship between mother and daughter, the frailty of memory and the power of healing -- Mark Damazer * New Statesman *
This physically slight book packs an unexpected emotional punch -- Simon Heffer * Daily Telegraph *
A novel offering more hope -- Daisy Goodwin * Daily Mail *
My Name Is Lucy Barton intrigues and pierces with its evocative, skin-peeling back remembrances of growing up dirt-poor. -- Ann Treneman * The Times *
Masterly -- Anna Murphy
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This beautifully told, powerful story has got all the essentials to be a great book. It tells us of an unforgettable and almost hypnotic relationship between mother and daughter.
It is one of these rare books that... More
“Another brilliant novel ”
Having enjoyed Olive Kitteridge there was no way I could resist this little delight too.
The writing style is addictive and the normal conversation this centres around could strike a cord with many.
“Honest, refreshing, full of unsentimental empathy”
My Name is Lucy Barton is an honest account of family and a true representation of how life and love can be so complicated and yet so simple. Strout’s tone is refreshing and unsentimental, and for me, that is both its... More
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