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Lucy By the Sea – Elizabeth Strout

Lucy by the Sea – Elizabeth Strout

I do like Elizabeth Strout’s writing and I was super keen to read this one.

Here’s the blurb

A poignant, pitch-perfect novel about a divorced couple stuck together during lockdown–and the love, loss, despair, and hope that animate us even as the world seems to be falling apart.

With her trademark spare, crystalline prose, Elizabeth Strout turns her exquisitely tuned eye to the inner workings of the human heart, following the indomitable heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton through the early days of the pandemic.

As a panicked world goes into lockdown, Lucy Barton is uprooted from her life in Manhattan and bundled away to a small town in Maine by her ex-husband and on-again, off-again friend, William. For the next several months, it’s just Lucy, William, and their complex past together in a little house nestled against the moody, swirling sea.

Rich with empathy and emotion, Lucy by the Sea vividly captures the fear and struggles that come with isolation, as well as the hope, peace, and possibilities that those long, quiet days can inspire. At the heart of this story are the deep human connections that unite us even when we’re apart–the pain of a beloved daughter’s suffering, the emptiness that comes from the death of a loved one, the promise of a new friendship, and the comfort of an old, enduring love.

This is the first novel I have read with Covid references. It definitely catches the confusion that happened in March 2020. This continues Lucy and William’s story, so I think you do need to have read the previous two. If you enjoyed those, then you will enjoy this one.

A review

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Oh, William – Elizabeth Strout

Oh William – Elizabeth Strout

I really like Elizabeth Strout, so I went to the book shop on the day it was published (of course they hadn’t unpacked it and I had to come back the next day).

Here’s the blurb

The Pulitzer Prize-winning, Booker-longlisted, bestselling author returns to her beloved heroine Lucy Barton in a luminous novel about love, loss, and the family secrets that can erupt and bewilder us at any point in life

Lucy Barton is a successful writer living in New York, navigating the second half of her life as a recent widow and parent to two adult daughters. A surprise encounter leads her to reconnect with William, her first husband – and longtime, on-again-off-again friend and confidante. Recalling their college years, the birth of their daughters, the painful dissolution of their marriage, and the lives they built with other people, Strout weaves a portrait, stunning in its subtlety, of a tender, complex, decades-long partnership.

Oh William! captures the joy and sorrow of watching children grow up and start families of their own; of discovering family secrets, late in life, that alter everything we think we know about those closest to us; and the way people live and love, against all odds. At the heart of this story is the unforgettable, indomitable voice of Lucy Barton, who once again offers a profound, lasting reflection on the mystery of existence. ‘This is the way of life,’ Lucy says. ‘The many things we do not know until it is too late.’

I thought that I had read My Name is Lucy Barton, but I can’t find it on my blog (and I am usually good at keeping records, so maybe I haven’t read it) anyway it’s not necessary to have read it to appreciate this new novel.

It’s written in a conversational, stream of consciousness method. Lucy thinks about her life with William and her two girls. There is not a huge amount of plot, it’s about the characters and the relationships between the characters. It’s about growing old and family and what it even means to be a family. And about how childhood experiences cast a long shadow over our lives.

A review.

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Olive, Again – Elizabeth Strout

Olive, Again – Elizabeth Strout

Oilve Kitteridge was one of my favourite books (and I enjoyed the series as well).

Here’s the blurb …

The iconic Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but also the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine. Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire moments of transcendent grace

Olive is back – as crabby and as unlike-able as ever, but also discerning, thoughtful and occasionally kind. The writing is beautiful -we have these little snippets of people’s lives and we see Olive as others see her. And, of course, everyone sees a different Olive.

There is a lot of fabulous stuff about Olive, Again…

Here is a podcast from Radio National’s Book Shelf podcast, Elizabeth Strout talking about Olive Again and a review from The Guardian.

I loved this book and can’t recommend it highly enough.

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