My Name Is Lucy Barton

A Novel

Publisher: Random House
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE • A simple hospital visit becomes a portal to the tender relationship between mother and daughter in this extraordinary novel by the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Olive Kitteridge and The Burgess Boys.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The Washington Post • The New York Times Book Review • NPR • BookPage • LibraryReads • Minneapolis Star Tribune • St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Look for Elizabeth Strout’s highly anticipated new work of fiction, Anything Is Possible, which is available for pre-order now.

Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable.

Praise for My Name Is Lucy Barton

“There is not a scintilla of sentimentality in this exquisite novel. Instead, in its careful words and vibrating silences, My Name Is Lucy Barton offers us a rare wealth of emotion, from darkest suffering to—‘I was so happy. Oh, I was happy’—simple joy.”—Claire Messud, The New York Times Book Review

“Spectacular . . . Smart and cagey in every way. It is both a book of withholdings and a book of great openness and wisdom. . . . [Strout] is in supreme and magnificent command of this novel at all times.”—Lily King, The Washington Post
 
“A short novel about love, particularly the complicated love between mothers and daughters, but also simpler, more sudden bonds . . . It evokes these connections in a style so spare, so pure and so profound the book almost seems to be a kind of scripture or sutra, if a very down-to-earth and unpretentious one.”—Marion Winik, Newsday
 
“Potent with distilled emotion. Without a hint of self-pity, Strout captures the ache of loneliness we all feel sometimes.”Time

“An aching, illuminating look at mother-daughter devotion.”People

“A quiet, sublimely merciful contemporary novel about love, yearning, and resilience in a family damaged beyond words.”The Boston Globe

“Sensitive, deceptively simple . . . It is Lucy’s gentle honesty, complex relationship with her husband, and nuanced response to her mother’s shortcomings that make this novel so subtly powerful. . . . [It’s] more complex than it first appears, and all the more emotionally persuasive for it.”San Francisco Chronicle

“Strout maps the complex terrain of human relationships by focusing on that which is often unspoken and only implied. . . . A powerful addition to Strout’s body of work.”The Seattle Times

“[Strout] reminds us of the power of our stories—and our ability to transcend our troubled narratives.”Miami Herald

“Magnificent.”—Ann Patchett

READ AN EXCERPT

There was a time, and it was many years ago now, when I had to stay in a hospital for almost nine weeks. This was in New York City, and at night a view of the Chrysler Building, with its geometric brilliance of lights, was directly visible from my bed. During the day, the building’s beauty receded, and gradually it...
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READING GUIDE

1. Lucy’s husband asked her mother to visit her in the hospital, and paid for her trip. Do you think that was a gesture of love on his part?

2. What role does the gossip Lucy and her mother share play in the book?

3. Do you think Lucy blames her mother for the more painful parts of her childhood?...

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PRAISE FOR

“There is not a scintilla of sentimentality in this exquisite novel. Instead, in its careful words and vibrating silences, My Name Is Lucy Barton offers us a rare wealth of emotion, from darkest suffering to—‘I was so happy. Oh, I was happy’—simple joy.”—Claire Messud, The New York Times Book Review
 
“Spectacular . . . My Name Is Lucy Barton is smart and cagey in every way. It is both a book of withholdings and a book of great openness and wisdom. . . . [Elizabeth Strout] is in supreme and magnificent command of this novel at all times.”—Lily King, The Washington Post
 
My Name Is Lucy Barton is a short novel about love, particularly the complicated love between mothers and daughters, but also simpler, more sudden bonds. . . . It evokes these connections in a style so spare, so pure and so profound the book almost seems to be a kind of scripture or sutra, if a very down-to-earth and unpretentious one.”—Marion Winik, Newsday
 
Lucy Barton is . . . potent with distilled emotion. Without a hint of self-pity, Strout captures the ache of loneliness we all feel sometimes.”Time
 
“An aching, illuminating look at mother-daughter devotion.”People
 
“A quiet, sublimely merciful contemporary novel about love, yearning, and resilience in a family damaged beyond words.”The Boston Globe
 
“Sensitive, deceptively simple . . . Strout captures the pull between the ruthlessness required to write without restraint and the necessity of accepting others’ flaws. It is Lucy’s gentle honesty, complex relationship with her husband, and nuanced response to her mother’s shortcomings that make this novel so subtly powerful. . . . My Name Is Lucy Barton—like all of Strout’s fiction—is more complex than it first appears, and all the more emotionally persuasive for it.”San Francisco Chronicle
 
“Strout maps the complex terrain of human relationships by focusing on that which is often unspoken and only implied. . . . [My Name Is Lucy Barton is] a powerful addition to Strout’s body of work.”The Seattle Times
 
“Impressionistic and haunting . . . Much of the joy of reading Lucy Barton comes from piecing together the hints and half-revelations in Strout’s unsentimental but compelling prose, especially as you begin to grasp the nature of a bond in which everything important is left unsaid. . . . Strout paints an indelible, grueling portrait of poverty and abuse that’s all the more unnerving for her reticence. With My Name Is Lucy Barton, she reminds us of the power of our stories—and our ability to transcend our troubled narratives.”Miami Herald
 
“Lovely and heartbreaking . . . a major work in minimalist form . . . In the character of Lucy, Strout has fashioned one of the great resilient modern heroines.”Portland Press-Herald
 
“Strout has proven once again that she is a master of creating unforgettable characters. . . . Her stories open themselves to the reader in a way that is familiar and relatable, but then she delivers these zingers and we marvel at her talent.”The Post and Courier
 
“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
  
“Magnificent.”—Ann Patchett