My Name Is Lucy Barton

  • by Elizabeth Strout
  • Narrated by Kimberly Farr
  • 4 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A new book by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout is cause for celebration. Her best-selling novels, including Olive Kitteridge andThe Burgess Boys, have illuminated our most tender relationships. Now, in My Name Is Lucy Barton, this extraordinary writer shows how a simple hospital visit becomes a portal to the most tender relationship of all - the one between mother and daughter.
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.

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What the Critics Say

"This story of family, poverty, aspirations, and obstacles is immediately gripping, thanks to the combination of Strout's high-quality prose and Kimberly Farr's nearly flawless performance." (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Because we all love imperfectly.

A character in My Name is Lucy Barton says "I like writers who try to tell you something truthful," and Elizabeth Strout has done just that. This book feels almost like the reader is being told a once-upon-a-time recounting of Lucy's life and relationships, in a personal, intimate conversation with her. It begins to feel like we are sitting at Lucy's bedside, along with her mother, as she recovers in the hospital. This experience is heightened by listening to the audiobook, with the excellent narration by Kimberly Farr.

“I write because I want the reader to read the book when they may need it,” Strout wrote in an email. “For example, when I first read ‘Mrs. Dalloway,’ I thought: ‘Wow, I really need this book!’ So I always hope that a reader will find the book when they need it, even if they didn’t know they needed it.”

And I did. I felt like Elizabeth Strout, through Lucy Barton, articulated and explained things I knew but couldn't express myself. The complexity of familial love, how things we wish we could hear from our loved ones just may not be possible for them to say, how we all love imperfectly, how we are all products of our background and experiences. I loved Olive Kitteridge, and My Name is Lucy Barton is even better.
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- Bonny

Exquisitely Written...but Undeniably Sad

3.5 Stars. Beautifully written (Strout's gift with language is exquisite) but unstintingly sad, this rumination on life, love and family is almost painful to sit through. Oh, how I wanted Lucy Barton to have one (just one) moment of pure, unadulterated happiness. But, no.

Lucy Barton narrates her life by focusing on memories. She tells us how she grew up poor (so poor), how she was locked in her father's truck all day because she was too young to go to school and they had no one to watch her, how her parents refused to accept her husband because he was German, how her mother comes to visit her while she's in the hospital for an unexplained illness (Lucy is happy about this but then her mother leaves, which makes her sad all over again). Through these stories, we get a glimpse of Lucy's life, from child to adult.

I found the book almost oppressive in its sadness, despite the beautiful words created by Strout.

The narrator did a very nice job. She was clear and easy to understand and really worked hard on bringing emotion to the story.
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- Janna Wong Healy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-12-2016
  • Publisher: Random House Audio