Monday, December 19, 2016
Book Review: My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
But mostly it's a quiet, short novel about a few days where not much happened, but that ended up being some of the most significant days in Lucy's life. We find out about her life as a daughter, a wife, a mother, a writer, a successful author, a divorcee, and so on. Through the lens of these few days, an entire world is opened up.
Because the book is so short, I could have read the whole thing easily in one night, but I put it down about halfway through because I wanted to absorb and think about some of the issues it brought up. Is it as revelatory and brilliant as Olive Kitteridge? No, but I suspect nothing ever will be—that's a high bar to hold her to every time. But it does hearken back to Olive. For me, it far exceeded The Burgess Boys even though not much happens here. I think that's an area where Ms. Strout excels: stories where not much happens. Usually I prefer a little more plot over character development, but when it's done as masterfully as by Ms. Strout, character development is wonderful and all you need. While this book is quiet, a little sad perhaps, and not at all exciting, the preciseness of her insight more than makes up for those potential flaws (but which are not at all flaws here), so for those who, like me, might have been disappointed by her last outing, know that she is back in high form.
I got an ARC of this book at Winter Institute free from the publisher.