This is my first book by Pulitzer Prize Winning author Elizabeth Strout, but I hope it’s not my last because this writing is beautiful.
Everything about this book is simple, except for the emotional impact it can have on the reader.
Writer Lucy Barton is in the hospital for a simple surgery, but her recovery is taking longer than expected. Lucy’s mother comes to sit with her, to be there at her side. This strikes Lucy as a bit odd because she’s never really felt the maternal love from her mother before, but the fact that she is there speaks silent volumes. She has come because Lucy’s husband called her, despite the fact that her husband and mother don’t get along.
The book takes place in the hospital room, with Lucy in the hospital bed, and also in the past, as Lucy reveals her up-bringing, her desires, and the path she took to becoming a writer But underneath it all, Lucy seems to be wanting some acknowledgement from her mother that she is loved, something that her mother can’t seem to say, and/or doesn’t understand that this is what Lucy is looking for. But the mother’s very presence, even if she was called by the husband, speaks volumes, yet Lucy has to open her eyes to see it.
In part, because Lucy is a writer and we follow her path to this career, the book feels so incredibly like a memoir. But perhaps it’s more than the fact that Lucy is a writer. It is also … primarily … because Strout is able to make this story feel so real. The characters connect to each moment, and are able to share that moment so clearly, that this doesn’t feel made up. And when you get lost in a story, feeling that every inch of it is true, you know you’re in the hands of a master story-teller. It feels true, because it is true, even if the characters are fiction.
This book is bound to be short-listed for many awards and you can do yourself a favor and read it right away.
Looking for a good book? My Name is Lucy Barton, by Elizabeth Strout, is a beautiful, poignant, touching story that you should read.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
* * * * * *
My Name is Lucy Barton
author: Elizabeth Strout
publisher: Random House
hardcover, 208 pages