Friday, May 13, 2016

My Name is Lucy Barton ~ Elizabeth Strout

Strout, Elizabeth. 2016. My Name is Lucy Barton. New York: Random House.
$26.00 USD.  ISBN 978-1400067695

From the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Olive Kitteridge.  In this slim volume, a young mother is recovering from a surgery gone bad in a New York hospital sometime in the 1980's in the shadow of the Chrystler Building. She is missing her husband and children, who cannot visit her.  One day, her estranged mother shows up and spends five days with her in the hospital, and from there the story begins.  The simple, almost child-like narrative is jarring at first, until one realizes that her mother's visit has caused the protagonist, Lucy Barton, to revert to the insecure, abused and abandoned child she once was, still hoping for some show of affection from her mother.  The story slips by like snapshots from the past and casts shadows on Lucy's childhood, marriage, writing career and her relationships, including those with her daughters.  It is a poignant read of "poverty and abuse," but also of love, which is so fragile, yet resilient as well.

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