- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Viking; 1 edition (11 October 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0241248787
- ISBN-13: 978-0241248782
- Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 1.4 x 12.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 159 g
- Customer Reviews: 2,305 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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My Name Is Lucy Barton: From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge Paperback – 11 October 2016
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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
From the Publisher
My Name Is Lucy Barton
Lucy is recovering from an operation in a New York hospital when she wakes to find her estranged mother sitting by her bed. They have not seen one another in years. As they talk Lucy finds herself recalling her troubled rural childhood and how it was she eventually arrived in the big city, got married and had children. But this unexpected visit leaves her doubting the life she's made: wondering what is lost and what has yet to be found.
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My Name Is Lucy Barton is a short, sparse novel and every word, every incident related is carefully chosen. There's a veil of ambiguity over the whole novel that made me constantly question what I was reading. It's clear that Lucy's mother, Lydia, remembers certain things very differently to the way Lucy does. Was Lucy's childhood really as bad as she believes it to have been, or - as someone who tells stories for a living - is she creating an embellished narrative to express some other, even deeper problem? There's an extra layer of uncertainty, too, as Lucy is looking back on her hospital stay and relating her conversations with her mother to us at a much later date, long after the two children she worries about while in hospital have grown up. We're not just relying on memories: we're relying on memories of memories. What, exactly, are the vague, undiagnosed complications she's suffering after her appendectomy - and is it just a coincidence that, having spent her childhood wary of a volatile, disturbed father, she is almost obsessively attached to the kind, calm and paternal doctor who oversees her care? Lucy may have left behind her traumatic past for New York, comfortable affluence and literary acclaim, but she'll never be able to escape her family's influence completely, and her relationship with her own daughters seems far from clear-cut.
It's not often that a novel says so much in so few words. Strout's prose is beautifully economical and Lucy's recollections are shaped by her traumatic experiences, some of which she is clearly repressing, so what's left out is sometimes just as important as what's included. This is a thoughtful exploration of fractured, complicated family relationships and the ripple effect of childhood poverty and neglect through the generations.
While narrated solely through Lucy Barton’s voice, unlike the multiple voices in “OK”, Lucy’s voice is uncertain, prone to revision and wavering, as she looks back on her long hospital stay as a young wife and mother. Her mother’s visit triggers stark memories of her impoverished (and possibly abusive) childhood and informs her ambivalent relationship with her mother, as she sees both of them through others’ eyes.
Written like a confessional or a memoir, the novel is made up of moments, side stories, recounted conversations, ponderings, stitched together. Lucy tells of her struggles as a fledgling writer, and her determination to write what is real, following the advice of a writer that “if you find yourself protecting anyone as you write this piece, remember this: You’re not doing it right”. What comes through in Lucy’s own narrative about her family is her inability at times to do just that as she reports on her parents’ neglect and abuse, but which is mingled with apology and excuses made in their behalf as she also tries to show the tender side to them, which gives her whole writing exercise a metafictive slant, revealing much about Lucy Barton herself. She reminds the reader at several points in the story that this is not a story about her marriage and yet it seeps through, over and over again, as it is part of her story and cannot be left out.
A quietly moving novel, that draws the reader in to all the hopes, fears and dreams of a character in all her vulnerability and brokenness, as she finds a way to grab onto herself and define who she is.
This book is different, I bought it because I went to the theatre a few months back to see the play with Laura Linney and I was so deeply touched by her performance!it made me want to re live the story, a story that I feel belongs to all of us, one way or another, about families, our relationship with our parents,our fears, our lives and how everything comes full circle at the end. Always.
Elisabeth Strout doesn't write a story, she whispers it to our ears to remind us that it's alright to cry and be human and scared. One of the best.
To be able to combine her copious historical knowledge with a highly imaginative delve into the future, daring to meddle with the known boundaries of science, with inconceivable “possibilities”, is a huge talent. Furthermore, she tempers her hair-raising escapades with a delightful wit, moving the reader from nail-biting tension to laughter in seconds. Her “logic” is just not logical, and yet she had me suspending disbelief, from beginning to end.
I loved Olive but I think I prefer Lucy. This is just a short read, but how can anyone pack such insight into such a small space?
The descriptions of life after the death of her parents, and of how she felt when her daughters left for college made me weep.
An absolute marvel.