Top positive review
A Great Read
12 August 2018
This is the first book I have ever read by Elizabeth Strout, but it won’t be my last, as literally apart from going to the toilet I read this straight off beginning to end. There is an active table of contents here, so you can read these tales in any order you wish, although if you read them in the order they appear here then you will notice certain progressions, and the interconnectedness between certain stories. And although you can say this is a collection of short stories, you can also say that it is a novel in the way that this is set out, which is no mean feat.
Not an actual sequel to the author’s previous novel ‘My Name is Lucy Barton’ this book does feature her and takes us to her home town of Amgash and the surrounding area (such as Carlisle) Illinois. Here we read of other members of the Barton family, including cousins, as well as other people from the area.
Filled with various themes so we can see depression, desire and loneliness, along with desperation and gossip, and so on. As incidents occur and we find out things that are going on in the present as well as in the past, so we find characters that are skilfully drawn with scenarios that we either have experience of or can empathise with. This is beautifully written, and the people really come to life, with their warts and all, giving us a deeper insight into life and what it means to be human. None of us are perfect, and this is shown here, with flaws appearing in characters, that adds to that human touch.
You do not have to have read the Lucy Barton novel to appreciate this, and due to the structure, even if you do not normally read short story books you may soon find yourself enjoying this, as the tales interconnect, and as I have already mentioned this does have a feel of a novel about it. Giving us a greater depth than the page count may indicate this really is a pure pleasure to read.