Dear Lucy: A Novel

( 4 )

Overview

An enchanting narrator propels this unique first novel that will appeal to fans of Room and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

Lucy is a young woman with an uncommon voice and unusual way of looking at the world. She would tell you that she is “missing too many words,” but despite her limitations she has a boundless zest for discovery and a deep desire to connect with those around her.

Deserted by her vivacious, social-climbing ...

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Dear Lucy: A Novel

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Overview

An enchanting narrator propels this unique first novel that will appeal to fans of Room and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

Lucy is a young woman with an uncommon voice and unusual way of looking at the world. She would tell you that she is “missing too many words,” but despite her limitations she has a boundless zest for discovery and a deep desire to connect with those around her.

Deserted by her vivacious, social-climbing mother, Lucy has been taken in by an older couple, known only as Mister and Missus, to work on their farm. There, she befriends a pregnant teenager named Samantha who tells conflicting stories about her past, but who finds an unlikely rapport with Lucy. Samantha wants to say something so I can understand it. Not just shake her head like flies are trying to land on her and say, I just don’t know about you Lucy. That is all some other people do when I say things.

When Samantha gives birth and the baby disappears, Lucy arms herself with Samantha’s diary—and a talking chicken named Jennifer—and embarks on a journey to reunite mother and child. A luminous, heartbreaking story of love, family, and loyalty, Dear Lucy is fresh, exciting storytelling at its finest.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lucy, the developmentally disabled title character of Sarkassian's captivating debut, narrates in a distinct voice that will hold up to the inevitable comparisons to Room and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. With her captivating personality and peculiar opinions, Lucy guides the reader through a twisting plot she too is struggling to understand. Sent by her selfish mother to live on a chicken farm run by a couple known only as Mister and Missus, Lucy's closest companion is Samantha, a young pregnant girl whose family has also sent her away. Missus and Samantha take brief turns narrating, revealing parts of the story hidden from Lucy, including that Samantha will give up her baby to Missus and Mister whose own pregnant daughter disappeared. But after the child is born, Samantha finds herself unwilling to give it up, especially when she discovers the truth about the couple's original daughter. Determined to reunite Samantha with her child as she longs to be reunited with her own mother, Lucy sets out on a meandering quest with a fanciful spirit guide in the form of a baby chick. The three narrators' vastly different beliefs about motherhood are touching and often painful, and Lucy's charm makes the story's inherent darkness easier to bear. Agent: Judy Heiblum, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
Dear Lucy introduces a young writer with a most original voice and a tenderly eccentric vision. Julie Sarkissian has created a boldly lyrical, suspenseful, and mysterious fictional world in this striking debut novel.”

“[A] captivating debut . . . a distinct voice that will hold up to the inevitable comparisons to Room and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.”

"A childlike female narrator—strange but full of naïve wonder . . . comes of age in a timeless story of motherhood, family, and loss in rural America. . . . Heightened realism that mingles easily with flights of occasional fantasy."

An ambitious debut expresses different versions of maternal need through three female voices . . . a struggle for comprehension, memory and expression, lit with shafts of insight and fantasy.

“Sarkissian’s bold debut novel features a unique protagonist . . . [her] dazzling stream of consciousness is heightened with elements of fantasy—she is accompanied and guided by a talking pet chicken—while Sarkissian tenderly depicts her characters’ frailties, fears, and desires.”

“An ambitious, complex novel offering themes about the fragility of life, love and being loved.”

“Julie Sarkissian has written the most original and stunning debut novel I have read in a long time. Dear Lucy is one of those rare delights that you cannot put down, and once you do, you can’t forget.”

Dear Lucy is about keeping promises against huge odds. This gorgeous novel does exactly that: the opening pages promise transcendent writing, remarkable characters, and a slowly unfolding mystery. But what happened and why is only part of what keeps you reading . . . Both whimsical and profound, Dear Lucy wins your heart on the very first page and delivers it back, fuller and slightly cracked, on the last.”

"In Dear Lucy, Julie Sarkissian has accomplished what many veteran novelists never achieve: a startlingly original work that is also profound and wise in the vagaries of the heart. What an amazing debut."

"Julie Sarkissian has written a rare and precious novel - moving, captivating, and expertly written in a voice unlike any other. Dear Lucy is full of characters who are heartbreakingly human; full of hope, desperation, love and joy. You’ll want to linger over the poetry of each and every sentence, but the foreboding mystery looming on the horizon will keep you turning the pages of this hauntingly beautiful book."

Joyce Carol Oates

Dear Lucy introduces a young writer with a most original voice and a tenderly eccentric vision. Julie Sarkissian has created a boldly lyrical, suspenseful, and mysterious fictional world in this striking debut novel.”
Kirkus Reviews
An ambitious debut expresses different versions of maternal need through three female voices, notably that of Lucy, a girl who is "different." There's a whiff of American Gothic about Sarkissian's claustrophobic evocation of life on the chicken farm where frustrated Missus yearns for a child and taciturn Mister looks suspicious in the light of adopted daughter Stella's pregnancy and disappearance. Now, two new girls live there: Samantha, also pregnant, whose baby is destined to be handed over to Missus; and mentally challenged, behaviorally troublesome Lucy, whose mother has instructed her not to leave the farm so that she can come and reclaim her. Sarkissian describes desperation on one side and deceived otherworldliness on the other as Lucy's interior landscape is revealed as a struggle for comprehension, memory and expression, lit with shafts of insight and fantasy. Lucy may be intellectually limited, but she understands, indeed obsesses over, love, family and parenting, which is why she wants to help Samantha and her baby join the father and become a unit. Using Samantha and Missus as alternative first-person narrators helps break up the monotony and oppressiveness of Lucy's stream of consciousness, but there's still a sense of overload to this novel as well as the questionable magic-realist involvement of a talking chicken. A daring, somewhat formless mix of thriller, whimsy and intense emotional portraiture. Shorter would have been better.
ShelfAwareness.com
“An ambitious, complex novel offering themes about the fragility of life, love and being loved.”
AVClub.com
“Sarkissian is a fine prose stylist, and the three voices in the novel are distinct. Her writing manages to be poetic without ever veering off into preciousness.”
PolicyMic.com
“Every once and a while a new voice comes along that is so beautifully different from anything you've read before that it is hard to even dream up where it came from. Such is the voice of Lucy the title character in Julie Sarkissian's debut novel, Dear Lucy . . . Written in poetic prose, the novel's language sweeps you up from the first pages . . . Mysterious and haunting.”
Good Housekeeping
"A quirky but captivating debut."
The Irish Examiner
“A story told in voices, all of which have compelling power.”
PublishersWeekly.com
“[A] captivating debut . . . a distinct voice that will hold up to the inevitable comparisons to Room and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.”
WMagazine.com
"A childlike female narrator—strange but full of naïve wonder . . . comes of age in a timeless story of motherhood, family, and loss in rural America. . . . Heightened realism that mingles easily with flights of occasional fantasy."
Joyce Carol Oates
Dear Lucy introduces a young writer with a most original voice and a tenderly eccentric vision. Julie Sarkissian has created a boldly lyrical, suspenseful, and mysterious fictional world in this striking debut novel.”
New York Times bestselling author of The Red Thread and The Knitting Circle - Ann Hood
“Julie Sarkissian has written the most original and stunning debut novel I have read in a long time. Dear Lucy is one of those rare delights that you cannot put down, and once you do, you can’t forget.”
New York Times bestselling author of The Lifeboat - Charlotte Rogan
Dear Lucy is about keeping promises against huge odds. This gorgeous novel does exactly that: the opening pages promise transcendent writing, remarkable characters, and a slowly unfolding mystery. But what happened and why is only part of what keeps you reading . . . Both whimsical and profound, Dear Lucy wins your heart on the very first page and delivers it back, fuller and slightly cracked, on the last.”
New York Times bestselling author of Serena and The Cove - Ron Rash
"In Dear Lucy, Julie Sarkissian has accomplished what many veteran novelists never achieve: a startlingly original work that is also profound and wise in the vagaries of the heart. What an amazing debut."
author of Vaclav and Lena - Haley Tanner
"Julie Sarkissian has written a rare and precious novel - moving, captivating, and expertly written in a voice unlike any other. Dear Lucy is full of characters who are heartbreakingly human; full of hope, desperation, love and joy. You’ll want to linger over the poetry of each and every sentence, but the foreboding mystery looming on the horizon will keep you turning the pages of this hauntingly beautiful book."
author of Dear Mr. President - Gabe Hudson
“Hypnotic and mesmerizing. This is gothic noir that is full of heart and pathos. Lucy’s lyric voice comes barreling off the page, and you will be utterly transfixed by the twists and turns of her journey. Sarkissian is a brilliant young writer who has written one of the most memorable debut novels in recent years.”
Booklist
“Sarkissian’s bold debut novel features a unique protagonist . . . [her] dazzling stream of consciousness is heightened with elements of fantasy—she is accompanied and guided by a talking pet chicken—while Sarkissian tenderly depicts her characters’ frailties, fears, and desires.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451625721
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 4/23/2013
  • Pages: 340
  • Sales rank: 1,451,339
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Julie Sarkissian is a graduate of Princeton University, where she won the Francis Leon Paige Award for creative writing, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. She lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Julie Sarkissian has created a very memorable narrator - a speci

    Julie Sarkissian has created a very memorable narrator - a special needs narrator. It creates a very unique feel to the book, not unlike The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time. But it works. I found the book incredibly hard to put down. Five stars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 26, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    DEAR LUCY tells the challenges of a mentally challenged girl and

    DEAR LUCY tells the challenges of a mentally challenged girl and society in general by touching on topcs such as depression, hypocrites, lying, selfishness and the lengths we will go to get the things we want no matter what the cost to ourselves and others.
    Throughout the story, the main focus is Lucy and the challenges evolving around her. From the mother who loves her child, but is unable to care for her to the people who take advatage of Lucys' lack of understanding. The author not only tells us Lucys' logic for doing things, but also that of others in the story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 23, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Dear Lucy is Julie Sarkissan's newly released debut novel. I can

    Dear Lucy is Julie Sarkissan's newly released debut novel. I can't imagine being a first time author waiting for readers' reactions to your work. So Julie, let me say right from the top - I knew from the first few pages that I was going to love it.

    Lucy has trouble communicating with the world.

    "What's the matter with you?
    I know that question.
    What's the matter with you?
    When someone asks you that question, there is no answer."

    Lucy has been sent by her Mum mum to live on a farm with Mister and Missus. She knows she must never leave the farm or Mum mum won't know where to find her. Lucy is mostly happy on the farm - she likes collecting the eggs from the chicken coop. Samantha's family has sent her to the farm as well - to await the birth of her illegitimate child. And with Samantha, Lucy has found her first and only friend. When Samantha gives birth and the baby disappears, Lucy knows what she must do.

    "A family, they are there from the beginning of each other." She has to find the baby for Samantha.

    Although she cannot read, she takes Samantha's journal and a helper on her quest - Jennifer the chicken. Yes, a chicken, who plays a major role in the book - and has a pretty big personality.

    Lucy captured my heart from the beginning. Her view of the world is so innocent, so logical and so hard for others to understand. I could see danger and heartbreak coming as I turned pages and I just wanted to protect her. Samantha's story also captured my emotions, but in a different way. Sarkissian has a magical way with words.

    "Sometimes there are people that you use words to say good-bye because you are going to separate from them. But other times there are people that you say good-bye to with words but inside your heart you never say good-bye to them. Mum mum is one of those people. There is a thread and the thread is so long that it lasts forever. Your heart is tied to one end of the thread and your mother's heart is tied to the other end. So really it's not a good-bye. No matter how far away you go, you never have to say good-bye."

    I fell in love with Lucy and her outlook. ("And I liked to wave. That is how branches dance with the wind.") But Missus - well, she's a whole 'nother story. Sarkissian employs multiple narrators, telling the story of Dear Lucy in alternating chapters. I always enjoy this method of storytelling. There's a delicious tension in seeing the same events from different perspectives. Or having a piece of information that one of the characters doesn't.

    Sarkissian has woven an addicting story, but she also deftly explores the theme of motherhood from many viewpoints.

    Dear Lucy is a unique, beguiling, captivating read that I devoured in a day. This is a title I'll definitely be recommending to everyone and I'll be eagerly awaiting the next novel from this fresh new voice.

    Fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time would love this title.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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