My Name Is Lucy Barton
by Elizabeth Strout

Overview - #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - A simple hospital visit becomes a portal to the tender relationship between mother and daughter in this extraordinary novel by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge and The Burgess Boys .  Read more...

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More About My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - A simple hospital visit becomes a portal to the tender relationship between mother and daughter in this extraordinary novel by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge and The Burgess Boys.

The Washington Post - The New York Times Book Review - NPR - BookPage - LibraryReads - Minneapolis Star Tribune - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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.


"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

"This slim, perceptive novel packs more sentiment and pain into its unsparingly honest and forthright prose than novels two and three times as long. Strout . . . has always awed us with her ability to put into words the mysterious and unfathomable ways in which people cherish each other."--Chicago Tribune

  • ISBN-13: 9780812979527
  • ISBN-10: 0812979524
  • Publisher: Random House Trade
  • Publish Date: October 2016
  • Page Count: 240
  • Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.45 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Family Life - General
Books > Fiction > Women

BookPage Reviews

Book clubs: High-society friends

Melanie Benjamin, the bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife, offers another beautifully crafted historical novel with The Swans of Fifth Avenue. In this hypnotic mix of fact and fiction, Benjamin looks back at the friendship of Truman Capote and glamorous socialite Babe Paley. Impeccable in dress and manners, with a high-profile husband—media magnate William Paley, head of CBS—Babe leads a life that on the surface seems picture perfect. In reality, though, she’s a lonely woman in need of connection, which she finds, unexpectedly, in the mischievous, gossip-loving Truman. The two grow close, but when Truman betrays Babe’s confidence by publishing a story about her unhappy marriage, she ends their relationship. Benjamin’s account of their friendship and falling out is dazzling from start to finish. Through crisp dialogue and a glorious cast of characters that includes Frank Sinatra, Rudolph Nureyev and Katharine Graham, she brings a lost era to vivid life. Brisk, stylish and fully realized, Swans is one of Benjamin’s best.

One of the most talked-about books of 2015, Submission, the sixth novel from French author and critic Michel Houellebecq, is an electrifying parody of international politics. Election season 2022 finds François, an instructor at New Sorbonne University, at a dead end. His academic work is at a standstill, and he’s been sleeping with his students. When an Islamic leader named Mohammed Ben-Abbes wins France’s presidential election, life takes a surreal turn. Fearing a surge of anti-Semitism, Myriam, François’ Jewish girlfriend, flees to Israel. At New Sorbonne, only Muslims are allowed to teach, and a number of François’ fellow professors convert to Islam. In this strange new world, François must find his footing and make daunting decisions about his life. Darkly comic and provocative, Houellebecq blends fictional figures with real people, including Marine Le Pen and François Hollande. Houellebecq’s sophisticated wit, command of global politics and understanding of human motivation add up to a classic satire. This timely novel is sure to get book groups talking.

Elizabeth Strout delivers a poignant look at the complexities of parental ties and the need for human connection in My Name Is Lucy Barton. Lucy left behind a difficult past in small-town Illinois to become a writer in New York City. As she recuperates in the hospital after an operation, her long-estranged mother pays a visit—and stays for five days. The two reconnect, sharing memories and catching up on gossip, but they avoid discussing sensitive family-related issues and Lucy’s literary success. Looking back on the visit, Lucy forgives these omissions and lays the past to rest. Her relationship with her mother forms the core of the novel, which Lucy narrates in a voice that’s both precise and poetic. Strout, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Olive Kitteridge, is a writer who gets better with each book.


This article was originally published in the November 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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