Ducks, Newburyport – Lucy Ellmann


Written in stream of consciousness style, an Ohio housewife worries about the state of the world

⚑ “the fact that Lucy Ellmann has written an absolutely remarkable novel with what will be perceived by some as an entirely unremarkable protagonist, the fact that I loved every one of those 998 pages, the fact that maybe it’s Stockholm syndrome, the fact that I am far too invested in the love life of a fictional mountain lion, the fact that America is terrifying, the fact that it’s like someone’s probed my brain and dumped its contents and sent it to a publisher, the fact that I have never read such a close-to-the-bone depiction of the mother/teen girl dynamic, the fact that it was an complete joy to read this ode to the overthinker” – Suzy

⚑”The description of this book does not to it justice. Yes an Ohio housewife worries about the world, in mostly one sentence, made up of a list of statements, separated by commas, that all begin with the phrase ‘the fact that’, BUT! what Ellmann covers off is remarkable. Yes she reflects on the state of the world, but she uses incredible detail, carefully nuanced commentary and fantastic pacing to make you, the reader, really consider and form your own opinions about the various topics.

“The unnamed housewife’s over imaginative consciousness jumps around these topics somewhat chaotically, and she forms lists, many, very long lists, (the fact that I love lists) but there is still a plot. And doesn’t this describe people? And life? Repressed thoughts, daily to-do lists but still a life that ticks over. But in the end they all converge into the person you are. And here they not only converge seamlessly into the person the housewife is but into the all-encompassing conclusion.

“Ellmann has turned the idea of traditional story telling on its head and invented a new form of the novel. She has examined how temporary life is and captured it, and human consciousness and the world in a way that is brilliant, impressive, thought-provoking and completely genius.

“I went into this book dreading it, for its size and style. But once started, it was difficult to put down. It is very readable and quite funny. Full disclosure I did skip a few hundred pages so I could read the ending before blogging about it, but now I’m going back and re-reading pages I missed, so I can link up the various plots, subplots, thoughts, foreshadowing and all Ellmann’s other cleverly disguised technicalities.” – Rachel

the fact that hogs make their own beds, though I’m not sure they do it every morning, the fact that they’re cleaner and smarter than anybody realises and don’t deserve to be made into bacon, but everyone likes bacon so much, so it’s a conundrum

Published 2019
Galley Beggar Press
1022 pages

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