Dear Fellow Reader,
An hour ago, I was in the basement waiting for the National Weather Service to cancel the tornado warning that it issued for my area. And now I sit here, and the sun is shining. I can see a bit of blue sky between the white clouds. You just never know what the day will bring.
I read a book by Elizabeth Strout for a book club a couple of years ago. It was My Name is Lucy Barton and I don’t remember much about it but it was dark. I know there were scenes between a mother and daughter in a hospital that truly showed a terrible relationship.
So, now I have read Lucy by the Sea. I think that Elizabeth Strout’s writing style is very different. It is brief and to the point. The chapters contain many sections with each section running either from a couple of sentences to a few paragraphs. The breaks allow for a change in thought or movement of the plot. While at first, I wasn’t too wild about it, I think it is very effective. The breaks allow Lucy to allude that something is going to happen in the future and then she goes back to the present or the past. It is not confusing at all as to where you are in the story even with the breaks.
Lucy is living in New York as she always has. She is still in mourning for her husband, Dwight, who died about a year ago. She loved him with all her heart. She has an ex-husband that she is friendly with and since Dwight’s death, she will occasionally travel with him. Their relationship is platonic but they have a long history. Her ex-husband is a parasitologist. He sees that there is going to be a huge change coming and he tells Lucy and his daughters that they need to leave the city. One daughter and her husband take his advice and move into the husband’s parent’s home while the parents are wintering in Florida. William tells Lucy to get ready that he is going to pick her up and they are leaving the city. Lucy doesn’t really understand what William is talking about but he is so insistent that she packs a bag and leaves with him for Maine.
And then the pandemic hits and some of their friends die.
The story is about that time. They are in Maine and they are not welcomed in Maine. They live in relative isolation out on a cliff and spend time taking separate walks around the area. It is the story of what Lucy expects to be a few weeks in Maine then turns into a much longer time. We learn more about the relationship between Lucy and William (and what went wrong) and how their relationship with their daughters. Lucy’s relationship with her dead mother also plays a big part in the story.
The reader learns the story of Lucy with all its warts and beauty.
If you are ready to read about the pandemic and its effects, then this is an interesting read. Is it too soon after the pandemic? Depends on the person, I guess. I truly enjoyed the writing style and the very human characters. I think you should read it.
Thanks for reading!