My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
Publisher: Penguin Randomhouse
I borrowed this from my boss, Juliet, who assured me, with a smile, that this was such a great read. She told me that New York, and the Chrysler building, are almost like a character. I was intrigued, so started reading it.
I sped through this book, and while it is comprised of short chapters, which only help to speed readers up, I was pulled by this sense that there was something revealing on the following page.
The novel centers on Lucy Barton, who is bedridden with an illness that never really gets explained. Her mother appears, after years of no communication, and Lucy’s life gets retold around their short interactions in the hospital ward. Through fragments and shards you can piece together parts of her life, and see into who Lucy Barton is.
There is a sense that the book sits on the edge of the permanently unsaid, a sense that this book isn’t people saying it, but rather an imprinting of the silent unspoken things.
It’s a book about one’s own story; how it is formed, how you shape it, and how it can change.
This novel made the Man Booker longlist, but wasn’t included in the shortlist. This really is a deeply affecting book – an excellent weekend read.