the next good book

Lucy by the Sea

By Elizabeth Strout


288 pages

What’s it about?

Elizabeth Strout turns her focus back to her literary character Lucy Barton as Lucy confronts the pandemic.  Lucy and William leave NYC and continue exploring their relationship while isolating themselves in a small town in Maine during the pandemic. “Here is what I did not know that morning in March.  I did not know that I would never see my apartment again.  I did not know that one of my friends and a family member would die of this virus.  I did not know that my relationship with my daughters would change in ways I could never have anticipated.  I did not know that my entire life would become something new.”

What did it make me think about?

Reading an Elizabeth Strout novel is always such a pleasure.  I admire her ability to look outside herself.  “I need to say: this is the question that has made me a writer; always that deep desire to know what it feels like to be a different person.”

Should I read it?

I am a huge Elizabeth Strout fan- so I am probably not the most unbiased reader of her books.  I always enjoy so many aspects of her novels from the simple, elegant structure of  her stories to the deep insights she provides.  One sentence can convey so much, “And I thought: We are only doing what we can to get through.”  This story seems like a continuation of “Oh William” but to me “Oh William” was a master work and this book is just really, really good.  I myself would not miss an opportunity to read anything Elizabeth Strout writes.


“And when I found out I had been living a parallel life, a dishonest life, it crushed me.  But I have often thought that it made me a nicer person, I really do.  When you are truly humbled, that can happen.  I have come to notice this in life.  You can become bigger or bitter, this is what I think.”

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