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Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable.
Praise for My Name Is Lucy Barton
“A quiet, sublimely merciful contemporary novel about love, yearning, and resilience in a family damaged beyond words.”—The Boston Globe
“It is Lucy’s gentle honesty, complex relationship with her husband, and nuanced response to her mother’s shortcomings that make this novel so subtly powerful.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“A short novel about love, particularly the complicated love between mothers and daughters, but also simpler, more sudden bonds . . . It evokes these connections in a style so spare, so pure and so profound the book almost seems to be a kind of scripture or sutra, if a very down-to-earth and unpretentious one.”—Newsday
“Spectacular . . . Smart and cagey in every way. It is both a book of withholdings and a book of great openness and wisdom. . . . [Strout] is in supreme and magnificent command of this novel at all times.”—Lily King, The Washington Post
“An aching, illuminating look at mother-daughter devotion.”—People
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|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Hometown:Brooklyn, New York
Date of Birth:January 6, 1956
Place of Birth:Portland, Maine
Education:B.A., Bates College, 1977; J.D., Syracuse College of Law, 1982
Read an Excerpt
There was a time, and it was many years ago now, when I had to stay in a hospital for almost nine weeks. This was in New York City, and at night a view of the Chrysler Building, with its geometric brilliance of lights, was directly visible from my bed. During the day, the building’s beauty receded, and gradually it became simply one more large structure against a blue sky, and all the city’s buildings seemed remote, silent, far away. It was May, and then June, and I remember how I would stand and look out the window at the sidewalk below and watch the young women—my age—in their spring clothes, out on their lunch breaks; I could see their heads moving in conversation, their blouses rippling in the breeze. I thought how when I got out of the hospital I would never again walk down the sidewalk without giving thanks for being one of those people, and for many years I did that—I would remember the view from the hospital window and be glad for the sidewalk I was walking on.
Excerpted from "My Name Is Lucy Barton"
Copyright © 2016 Elizabeth Strout.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Reading Group Guide
1. Lucy’s husband asks her mother to visit her in the hospital and pays for her trip. Do you think this is a gesture of love on his part?
2. What role does the gossip Lucy and her mother share play in the book?
3. Do you think Lucy blames her mother for the more painful parts of her childhood? Could her mother have done better?
4. World War II and the Nazis profoundly affect Lucy’s father (and hence her whole family), Lucy’s marriage to her first husband, and even her dreams. Discuss.
5. Lucy expresses great love for her doctor. How would you describe that love?
6. Lucy’s friend Jeremy tells her she needs to be ruthless to be a writer. Does she take his advice? How?
7. Why does Lucy keep returning again and again to see the marble statue at the Metropolitan Museum of Art?
8. How has the poverty of Lucy’s childhood shaped her life and her work?
9. What does living in New York City mean for Lucy? Do you think she feels at home in New York?
10. What does Sarah Payne mean when she says to Lucy that we all have only one story?