“Lucy by the Sea” by Elisabeth Strout

Genre: Literary FictionLucy by the sea
Publisher: Random House
Pub. Date: Sept. 20, 2022

This is Strout’s third “Lucy” novel.  If not familiar with the Lucy tales, you can read this as a standalone book. Once again, Lucy shares her experiences and emotions that have shaped her life. This time, her ex-husband William persuades (almost bullies) her into leaving pandemic-stricken New York City for Maine. I’m sure the author wanted to illustrate why so many people were in denial when COVID first became apparently deadly, but I thought Lucy was written more as a naive, dimwitted person than as someone in denial. It was frustrating since Lucy frequently felt inferior due to her difficult childhood but never acted in such a manner.

Within this plot, Lucy’s narration jumps from subject to subject: her growing intimacy with William; his adultery while they were married; the marital and health problems of their two daughters; the unexpected reappearance of William’s half-sister; and memories of Lucy’s impoverished upbringing, strained relationships with her parents, and her ongoing issues with her sister.

Strout’s voice was so fresh and specific in “My Name Is Lucy Barton” (2016), was already sounding rather tired in “Oh, William!” (2021), and is close to being stale here. Still, the novel has pleasant moments such as when one visits with an old friend with nothing new to say to each other but, still happy to see one another.

I received this Advance Review Copy (ARC) novel from the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

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4 thoughts on ““Lucy by the Sea” by Elisabeth Strout

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