Customer Review

Reviewed in Australia on 1 November 2021
In this next instalment of the Lucy Barton story Strout does her usual thing of seeming to write about quotidian life in all its ordinariness but in doing so, extracts complexities of the human psyche in their known and unknown mysteriousness. As Lucy says at the end, who can say what people have within them and why we turn out as we do? In the end, all that’s left to us is to see the dearness in all the souls around us even when we can see faults of character.
In this one, first husband William discovers he has an older half sister and he and Lucy go on a quest to find this woman. In doing so, they need to heavily revise what they know of William’s mother. By the end of the novel Lucy’s feeling about William undergoes a radical shift as well. Lucy faces the complexities of herself too, finding not everything inside her admirable, but considering her unfortunate background she’s done very well to give and receive love, to live a life true to herself with such courage.
Strout writes Lucy as unpretentiously honest, observant and insightful about nuances of expression and mood, as if she is beguiled with ever changing discoveries of what’s inside those around her, including her two adult daughters. The only thing that occasionally grates is the repetition of “What I mean is …” but we understand why she does it. She’s trying to be clear.
Report abuse Permalink