Maybe it was the darkness with only the pale crack of light that came through the door, the constellation of the magnificent Chrysler Building right beyond us, that allowed us to speak in ways we never had.
Unexpectedly hospitalized after routine surgery, Lucy Barton wakes one morning to find her mother, whom she hasn't seen for years, at her bedside. Lucy, a mother of two herself, blissfully listens to her mother's gossip about family and friends, and memories of her impoverished childhood in Illinois begin to surface, recollections of lovingly tender moments intermingling with painful episodes of abuse and neglect. This is my first time reading Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout, and I can see what all the fuss is about: My Name Is Lucy Barton is the kind of book that lays bare seemingly ineffable nuances of the human experience with profound precision and clarity. I found myself underlining sentences in every chapter, nodding in recognition. This deceptively simple novel is a tender and evocative illumination of the powerful and complex bond between mother and child. (AG)