Elizabeth Strout returns with another Lucy Barton novel. Each one keeps getting better, stronger. In the new novel, LUCY BY THE SEA, we find Lucy being whisked away from her Manhattan apartment to a much safer domain in a small town in Maine right on the coast. Her ex-husband, William, has persuaded her to accompany him. They have an on again/off again relationship that seems to get easier as they become older.
Yes, this is a pandemic novel. It’s the most realistic one I’ve read. It kept my attention all the way through.
The native people in Maine don’t necessarily take to strangers arriving with NY license plates. Especially now that the pandemic has reached out its ugly claws. So Lucy and William have their work cut out to “fit” in. But the two settle in pretty nicely and decide it’s a good fit. They have grown daughters with angst of their own. Toss all this together and you actually probably have a fairly normal situation. And that’s one of the things I love about Strout’s writing. It’s quiet and steadfast. It’s profound and yet realistic. Elizabeth Strout has become one of the most acclaimed writers of our time.
When William reunites with a half sister he’s never met it sure adds another dimension to the story. She came out of nowhere in the last novel, OH WILLIAM. Those of you familiar with Lucy Barton already know how imperfect Lucy’s William is. As a husband he pretty much sucked! He has calmed down and really seems to still love Lucy. And now that they are both single again, the dynamic of their relationship has shifted.
This novel shows the grief, anxiety, loneliness, longing, and loss that the pandemic caused. Everyone has been touched by it, some more deeply than others. Strout has outdone herself by bringing us a heartfelt story that reminds us that we all were in this together. Everyone has a story.
Elizabeth Strout is the best selling author of nine award-winning novels. In 2009 Strout won The Pulitzer Prize for OLIVE KITTERIDGE.
I read my review copy of LUCY BY THE SEA digitally through NetGalley and Random House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. As you can certainly tell, I loved it!