Lucy by the Sea: A Novel (Paperback)
October 2022 Indie Next List
“I’ve read quite a few pandemic books in the last year, but this one stands out. Strout has produced a meditation on memory as much as a character study as Lucy, William, and their neighbors grapple with the pandemic and political divides.”
— Emily Crowe, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, MA
“Strout’s understanding of the human condition is capacious.”—NPR
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, Oprah Daily, Entertainment Weekly, San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, Time, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, PopSugar, She Reads
With her trademark spare, crystalline prose—a voice infused with “intimate, fragile, desperate humanness” (The Washington Post)—Elizabeth Strout turns her exquisitely tuned eye to the inner workings of the human heart, following the indomitable heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton through the early days of the pandemic.
As a panicked world goes into lockdown, Lucy Barton is uprooted from her life in Manhattan and bundled away to a small town in Maine by her ex-husband and on-again, off-again friend, William. For the next several months, it’s just Lucy, William, and their complex past together in a little house nestled against the moody, swirling sea.
Rich with empathy and emotion, Lucy by the Sea vividly captures the fear and struggles that come with isolation, as well as the hope, peace, and possibilities that those long, quiet days can inspire. At the heart of this story are the deep human connections that unite us even when we’re apart—the pain of a beloved daughter’s suffering, the emptiness that comes from the death of a loved one, the promise of a new friendship, and the comfort of an old, enduring love.
Shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize
“Graceful, deceptively light . . . Lucy’s done the hard work of transformation. May we do the same.”—The New York Times
“Lucy by the Sea has an anecdotal surface that belies a firm underlying structure. It is meant to feel like life—random, surprising, occasionally lit with flashes of larger meaning—but it is art.”—The New Yorker
“No novelist working today has Strout’s extraordinary capacity for radical empathy, for seeing the essence of people beyond reductive categories, for uniting us without sentimentality. I didn’t just love Lucy by the Sea; I needed it. May droves of readers come to feel enlarged, comforted, and genuinely uplifted by Lucy’s story.”—The Boston Globe
Praise for Elizabeth Strout
“One proof of Elizabeth Strout’s greatness is the sleight of hand with which she injects sneaky subterranean power into seemingly transparent prose. Strout works in the realm of everyday speech, conjuring repetitions, gaps and awkwardness with plain language and forthright diction, yet at the same time unleashing a tidal urgency that seems to come out of nowhere even as it operates in plain sight.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Strout managed to make me love this strange woman I’d never met, who I knew nothing about. What a terrific writer she is.”—Zadie Smith
“Elizabeth Strout is one of my very favorite writers. The depth, complexity, and love contained in these pages are a miraculous achievement.”—Ann Patchett
“Writing of this quality comes from a commitment to listening, from a perfect attunement to the human condition, from an attention to reality so exact that it goes beyond a skill and becomes a virtue.”—Hilary Mantel