Cover Image: Lucy by the Sea

Lucy by the Sea

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Member Reviews

Elizabeth Strout’s follow up about Lucy takes us into the Covid pandemic. Lucy and William leave NYC for Maine and Lucy, as always, has complicated feelings about the disruption to her routine and, as the pandemic continues, the long term impact on her life. The trauma of the pandemic brings back memories of her childhood traumas as well. A solid follow up in the Lucy Strout series.

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I have just finished reading Lucy by the Sea by Author Elizabeth Strout.

This is the 3rd book that I have read by her. The two previous ones I thoroughly enjoyed.

This book to me reads like a long slow drawn-out conversation. It is a carry over from the other books with the main character Lucy Barton and her ex-husband William.

It is in current times with the storyline based around the Covid situation in New York, and the surrounding states. It also covers some very hot topics that have recently occurred in The United States.

My opinion of this book does not go with most of the reviews and ratings so far, as I found that it was quite boring, dark, and quite depressing.

I think I have just lost interest in the characters.
#LucybytheSea #NetGalley

2.5 Stars for me, rounded up to 3.

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This charming narrator Lucy Barton is back, picking up where she left off in "Oh William!". The storyline covers the first year of the current covid-19 pandemic. William, ex-husband and friend of Lucy, takes Lucy out of New York City at the beginning of the pandemic to a small beach town in Maine where Lucy makes some limited new friends and tries to connect with her own family members mainly remotely. William is trying to get closer to his half-sister whose existence he has never known while trying to keep Lucy and their children safe. Lucy is making friends with Bob Burgess (from Elizabeth Strout's earlier work) and Charlene Bibber who talks to Olive Kitteridge at a retirement place while trying to grasp her two daughters' love and marriage.

To my knowledge this is the fourth novel featuring Lucy Barton but the style is extremely similar to the previous novel "Oh William!", still focusing on the unknowability of the other people and the life itself. Unique in this book is the pandemic, especially how the pandemic sheds a dark spotlight on human relations and conditions, specifically loneliness and sadness.

This book's treatment on the pandemic is quite relatable, making me imagine Elizabeth Strout jotting down the thoughts and observations on a note pad during the first year of the pandemic. Though this book also features some big events during that time when George Floyd got killed by a cop followed by protests and the Capitol Building in Washington DC was attacked by a mob of Trump supporters, Lucy lightly touches on the political side of US.

The undeniable lightness of Lucy's writing can be linked with the positive energy that the reader can feel even though the narrator is haunted by the dreams of the dead and by some bad memories ("scraps of Kleenex in the bottom of a pocket").

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Lucy by the Sea
by Elizabeth Strout
Pub Date: Sept.20, 2022
RAndom House
Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC of this book.
Rich with empathy and emotion, Lucy by the Sea vividly captures the fear and struggles that come with isolation and 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. Very relatable novel. I will recommend this!
4 stars

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Oh, sweet Lucy! My heart just broke for her as she navigates lockdown and the pandemic. It was so refreshing to hear her train of thoughts as she figured out what her new normal looked like. This was such a powerful novel that reminded us “everyone needs to feel important” and I just kept rooting for Lucy along the way.

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Elizabeth Strout does it again with Lucy By The Sea. It's an extension of her previous book, Oh, William, and it's wonderful. Reading her novels is like slipping into her brain and sharing a intimacy that is both real and unnerving.
I loved this quick read of a book; her words always fill me with wonder. Lucy Barton living through Covid is the basis and what a true story it is, to me. Thank you to NetGalley and Random House. Ms. Strout's books are ALWAYS a gift to read.

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Those early lockdown days. I remember them well. The empty streets. Standing at the window to wave at loved ones. Wiping down delivered grocery orders. Seeking out the lovely spots in life, an early flower, an orange sunset, streaming a concert. We thought it would end, but it hasn’t really ended. The virus continues to menace us, its legacy seen all around us. Relationships that couldn’t bear the pressure, the moments of anxiety or panic that still niggle at us, the divisiveness in society.

Those of us who are introverts fared better, lost in our books and hobbies and work. Perhaps some of us understand what Lucy Barton knew: “We are all in lockdown, all the time. We just don’t know it, that’s all.” We are mysteries to one another, holding onto each other for dear life, closer, closer, but really, who of us really understands another?

Lucy Barton’s imagination places her in other’s lives. After seeing the January 6 attack on the Capitol she remembers a time when she felt humiliated, dismissed by wealthy college students as an old woman writing about poverty, and for a moment understood them. “No, those were Nazis and racists,” she afterwards thought. And yet, everyone wants to feel that they matter. No matter how poor, how powerless. It is her ability to sympathize with people one can’t like that makes her remarkable.

Lucy was lucky; she escaped, went to university and wrote her memoirs. Married a man she loved, who broke her heart. Married another man she loved, who died and broke her heart. She had two daughters, now struggling with choices. Her siblings never escaped their childhood, never fit into the world or were too broken by the abuse of their childhood.

Lucy by the Sea is the latest Lucy Barton novel, set during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic. Her first husband, William, rescues her from New York City, taking her to a small town in Maine, to save her life. Lucy can’t concentrate, has anxiety attacks, worries about her friends and family. And also makes new friends, marvels at the sea and the sunsets. And she and William bond anew.

The novel is filled with people from Elizabeth Strout’s novels, of course the Lucy Barton books, but also Bob Burgess from The Burgess Boys, and Olive Kitteridge, and people from Abide with Me.

The novel embraces the message Strout has been trying to tell us all along, what is important in life. Compassion. And, for whatever its worth, imperfect, beautiful love.

I received a free egalley from the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased.

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A new Elizabeth Strout novel is always something to look forward to. Her books are comfort books and the characters that inhabit them, comfort characters. While not Strout's strongest work (I still think this belongs to Olive Kitteridge), Lucy by the Sea has all the characteristics I have come to expect from Strout -- strong characters, beautifully simple writing, and heartfelt connections. Lucy by the Sea also has the honor of being the first firmly COVID-related novel I've read. I found myself reliving those early days of the pandemic, when it was impossible to tell just how serious everything was about to become, right along side Lucy Barton. I wouldn't say I've been avoiding COVID novels but I was definitely worried that they would leave a bad taste in my mouth. But with Lucy by the Sea it felt almost cathartic -- we really went through all of that. We really are still going through it. How incredible that we have made it out the other side and how much we have changed in the last 2 years. Very happy to have read this novel and still loving Strout's gorgeous writing.

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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an e ARC of this book.
I always enjoy Elizabeth Strout and this may be my all time favorite.
Maybe because Vivid is so recent and the book deals with a time that is still
rich in our minds. So much is what I felt and am still feeling. Beautifully written as always.

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We are all in lockdown, all the time. We just don't know it, that's all. But we do the best we can. Most of us are just trying to get through.
I adore Elizabeth Strout's books and her style of writing and this one might be my favorite since Olive Kitteridge. While I've had zero interest in reading any books set during the pandemic, I knew I could trust Strout to approach the topic with incredible awareness and insight. Lucy experiences so much of what I was feeling at that time, it took me right back to March 2020, capturing the uncertainty and disbelief of those days but with sensitivity and honesty rather than drama and despair. Her stream of consciousness ramblings made me nod my head in agreement, cry over her losses, and smile at the hope she ultimately allows to rise up. Highly recommended.
I was given a copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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This is not normally the kind of genre I read, but I am so glad I took the chance and read it. I loved this book! It is set during the pandemic so it definitely echoes modern times and the writing was phenomenal. This will not be the last book I read from myself! Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for this Arc in exchange for an honest review

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Breathtaking-a story for our time. A book about aging, forgiveness, and the early days of the pandemic and the way it impacted us. A bit political at times (well I appreciated the politics) yet a realistic portray of our time. I just loved and appreciates the descriptions of the Maine seasons. A high recommend.

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Review-Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout by Shirley W. 7-17-22

A poignant story of a successful woman persuaded to leave her New York apartment by her former husband and friend as the Covid pandemic began to accelerate. Lucy was somewhat surprise that William was so insistent to “protect” her and he had encouraged their grown daughters to get out of New York also. The story is of their many months together in a remote small town on the beautiful, Maine coast. Being alone together brings remembrances of their past and trials of their marriage. Lucy had been married after William to the love of her life, but he had passed away. There are family situations with their daughters, William’s long-lost sister, and between themselves.

The author, Elizabeth Strout, tells Lucy’s story in a unique way sharing that Lucy sees the world with a kind and accepting soul. Lucy respects each person’s perspective observed from their own experiences of life. Why can’t we each respect differing opinions as normal instead of hearing dissension, altercation, and conflict? We could have a better, more respectful world!

I received a free advanced copy of this book from Penguin Random House. This is my honest review.

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Set in this time of Covid, our narrator Lucy begins with a convoluted back and forth series of vignettes of her former husband David, her quite unusual friend William, and the intricacies of the lives of her various family members and friends.
She makes the statement: “ Who knows why people are different? We are born with a certain nature, I think. And then the world
takes its swings at us.”
The glimpses into these stories stand on their own and the reader will begin to stop looking for a normal straightforward narrative, but take in each small vividly detailed picture of human interaction.
Lucy is talking to herself and William, rambling as though trying to put together the puzzle of Covid societal behavior and outcomes.
As she and William journey into events, sorrows and joys, we are sharing the opening of a physical world, living in the past and the here and now.
Fear is present, as is ecstasy, beauty, grief, anger and Love.
It is metaphysical- be prepared to be confused, astonished, and left wondering what has really happened.

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Elizabeth Strout is a favorite author of mine and I have especially enjoyed her novels about Lucy Barton and her ex-husband, William. Lucy By The Sea deals with their lives as they mutually agreed to quarantine together during the Covid pandemic. Like so many of us in the beginning, Lucy did not realize how long and how devastating this pandemic would be.
The pandemic allowed Lucy and William the time to reflect back on their lives together and their times apart. The solitude and boredom was very familiar to me. We all has such a fear of this dreadful virus in those pre vaccine months. I can truly relate to Lucy Barton and her anxieties. Her character is very believable and Elizabeth Strout has once again captured my full attention and admiration for writing such an excellent story.

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Lucy by the Sea
by Elizabeth Strout
Random House
TBP 09/20/2022

ARC from Random House via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review - thank you!

I received an ARC of this newest title from Elizabeth Strout on July 14, 2022 and it felt like Christmas in July! I was not disappointed.

Lucy by the Sea updates the life journey of Lucy Barton, one of the most fascinating characters of modern American fiction, introduced in 2016 in My Name Is Lucy Barton.

Lucy is now one year or so out from the death of her beloved husband David, still adjusting to widowhood and living alone in their NYC apartment. It is March 2020, and William, Lucy's first husband, convinces her to come with him to small town Maine where he has rented a house on a cliff for them. As a scientist, William understood the coming COVID crisis would not be a whim but something that required patience and compliance with precautions. He also ensures that their two grown daughters and their husbands as well as Bridget, William's young daughter from his last marriage, are away from the city.

Their life in the Maine house starts out rough with many local residents antagonistic to the New Yorkers coming to infect them with their virus. But, with help from Bob Burgess, they settle in and eventually are accepted. Their own relationship takes an unexpected trajectory and they both settle into the "seniority" stage of life.

I enjoy author Strout's style, especially her manner of writing about Lucy Barton, stream of consciousness. We first met Lucy in My Name Is Lucy Barton and in Oh William! and now Lucy by the Sea we see Lucy still struggles with the poverty of her early life and the deprivation of parental love. However, she comes to see herself differently in this newest book. I suspect the lockdown had similar effects on millions of the rest of us, where we either emerged better or bitter.

So grateful to Ms. Strout for this latest chapter in Lucy's life while keeping us abreast of one of the Burgess Boys and of Olive Kitteridge. It was a pleasure to peek in on Lucy and friends and get updated, to see Lucy's growth in self-acceptance and her gravitation towards William. Another Strout novel that is just impossible to put down! I am waiting for them to make films of these masterpieces.

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I love Lucy! I think any fan of Elizabeth Strout will enjoy this. I liked the focus on her daughters and her relationship with them. I also loved the appearances/mentions of other characters from Strout's books - it felt like a gift to the reader.

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Another book featuring Lucy Barton, as well as multiple personalities from her earlier books.
The setting is the early stages of the pandemic, and the efforts of her first husband , William, to keep all of his family members safe. The writing style is slow, at times ponderous,but as always incisive about human emotions over the course of the book. The dominant themes, to my mind, are loneliness, fear, uncertainty, and moments of both intense grief and joy which probably all of us have experienced throughout the pandemic, which, if nothing else , provided Lucy, and indeed all of us , an opportunity to take a “ deep dive” into our own lives.
There are brief mentions of the political events of the time , and she , as well as anyone, explains through Lucy’s observations of several people and places around her what made Trump an attractive candidate to so many.
Excellent read. No “ spoilers” from this reader but it will be VERY INTERESTING to see the next phase of her life.

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From beginning to end, I never wanted to put this novel down….having read it in one sitting.
It’s possibly….heck, most definitely my favorite Elizabeth Strout book.

I can’t imagine a covid-lockdown story being more moving, affecting, relatable, timely, and intimate.

I didn’t fully gel with Lucy’s narrative voice in
in “Oh, William” ….something felt off to me.
But I thoroughly enjoyed her voice in “Lucy By The Sea”. Her vulnerability was raw and and real.
The story, setting, characters, prose …. it all fit beautifully like a finished puzzle.

A couple of sample excerpts:
“We found a puzzle, it looked odd but the pieces were there—for all we knew, The pieces were there—and
it was a self portrait of Van Gogh. I said, ‘I hate this kind weof thing’, and he said, ‘Lucy, we’re in lockdown, stop hating every’. And he set it up on a small corner table in the living room. I helped him find the corners and the edges, and then I left it for the most part alone. I have never liked doing puzzles”.

“We talked for hours, William sat up next to me in my bed, and we talked about all the people we had known together, what had become of them. And then we both got tired”.
“Go to sleep”, I said, and William stood up and said, ‘Nice talk, Lucy’”.

“I got to know the tides: I mean I got to understand when they went out and came back in, and they comforted me. I would watch the swirling water as the tide came in, lapping it’s white swirl again and again upon the darken rocks below us, and also against those two islands in front of us, and I would watch on days when the ocean seemed almost— briefly— flat, and I would watch the tide go out, leaving the wet rocks and choppy yellowish seaweed. When I looked straight ahead there was nothing on the horizon past those two small islands, that is how far out the ocean went. I noticed how the sky tended to match the ocean; if the sky was gray— as it frequently was—the ocean seemed gray too, but when the sky was bright blue, the ocean seemed a blue color, or sometimes a deep green if there were clouds and sun. The ocean was a huge comfort to me somehow, and those two islands were always there. The sadness that rose and fell in me was like the tides”.

Memorable!!! Such a gem to treasure!!!

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This is my first Elizabeth Strout novel but certainly won't be my last. (Incidentally, the very first book I ever shelved on my to-read back in 2009 (!!) was Olive Kitteridge. Still haven't read it. Must get on that soon.)

There's just something so comforting about Strout's writing, something that makes you feel so warm and safe even if what she's telling you is painful, sad, etc. This wasn't a sad book, by any means, but life is full of ups and downs and they're written here with compassion. I trusted her implicitly, via Lucy, to handle me and the story with care, and that's a very rare feeling that I can't actually say I've experienced much with any other author.

I don't really know what else to say about this, other than that if you're looking for a quiet, peaceful, meditative book, this is a must-read.

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