In 48 hours this week I bought, devoured, and finished Liz Strout's newest novel, Lucy by the Sea. To say it is relative to my interests is the understatement of 2022. Like my own novel currently in search of a publishing home, Lucy by the Sea is set in early pandemic days. It's so strange to read about what is already a period piece, less than a toddler's life ago. Depressing. Inspiring. Reminding really - I'm not alone in blocking out certain memories from that period, even having placed the last third of my own novel there. Each revision brought it back fresh, and that was not always a welcome experience.
There's much to mourn with Lucy in this gorgeous book by Strout. But I also leave feeling a new appreciation for all of us. The resiliency we've had to dig so deep for, the humanity we've held onto amid such painful, isolating, confusing, and divisive times. The tiny steps we each took to keep going, to stay connected to loved ones, to hold onto our dreams, our humor. Good glory!
If you need a novel written by a deeply compassionate writer with a deeply feeling narrator and a compassionate, sweeping view of humanity that lays it bare, get thee to an independent bookstore and pick up Lucy by the Sea.