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Monday, January 16, 2017

Straight Into The Top Fifty

Although possible, it's doubtful "My Name Is Lucy Barton" will ever be displaced from its new place among the top fifty novels I've ever read.

"It interests me how we find ways to feel superior to another person, another group of people. It happens everywhere, all the time. Whatever we call it, I think it's the lowest part of who we are, this need to find someone else to put down." 

At one hundred ninety one pages, Elizabeth Strout's remarkable 2016 novel is a model of concision. As the book nears its end, the author begins drawing impressionistic sketches via her use of increasingly shorter chapters. Each sketch is an exquisite miniature revealing how little any of us ever know of what another person is thinking or feeling, even those with whom we share a lot of history. And each of Lucy Barton's insights - like the one above - are as quiet as they are rich, delivered without flourish or metaphor. There is not a false note in this entire book.

"All life amazes me." Arriving at that final sentence, I wrote "amen" and then returned to page one to begin re-reading this jewel. What was the last book you felt compelled to re-read immediately after finishing it? 

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