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.
‘It is a study of filial love and of how our upbringing impacts on our futures. It is also gorgeously written and often very funny. I read it over a few hours last Saturday and was thunderstruck by its gentle power.’ – Chris White, Waterstones’ Fiction Buyer
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.