My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout [in Library Journal]
Many years earlier, Lucy Barton spent two months in a hospital after a routine appendectomy; no one ever figured out what was wrong. She wakes one morning to find her mother sitting on her bed, arrived in Manhattan from their rural Illinois hometown.
Too many years have passed since mother and daughter have even been in the same room, and yet their conversations work hard to avoid the personal, gossiping and laughing about friends and neighbors rather than sharing intimacies between themselves. The very air in Lucy’s room becomes achingly dense with all that goes unsaid – both women so desperately lonely, both so heavy with love and need for each other.
Pulitzer Prized Elizabeth Strout’s (Olive Kitteridge) latest title is a haunting portrait of an artist as a young woman and what she fled, endured, and hoped for on her remarkable journey toward becoming a writer. Kimberly Farr’s deliberate, measured narration gives Lucy dignity and grace, never succumbing to a hint of self-pity. The unflinching strength of Strout’s writing finds equal fortitude in Farr’s lucid, thoughtful voice.
Verdict: With Strout’s exalted reputation, library patrons will be queuing impatiently to get to know Lucy Barton. Watch for Lucy on upcoming literary prize short lists and best-of compilations.