I’ve just finished this book. My desire to keep reading it throughout the day meant that I somehow managed a few pages while Rufus and Billy were using me as a climbing frame yesterday afternoon. It was only when Billy physically shut the book for me that I thought I should probably give them my full attention!
It’s brilliant. It’s tender. It’s beautifully written and it takes you to the heart of this small Illinois community. Each chapter follows a different person who has some connection to Lucy Barton. Lucy is a writer who came from the impoverished edges of this town and has somehow made it out, and found success.
Strout reminds me of Marilynne Robson in her subtle but powerful writing of characters who the reader quickly comes to understand and sometimes love. There’s sadness but there’s also triumph in unexpected quiet moments of the book.
I finished it wishing there was more. Strout pulls you into this world through her insightful and delicate portrayal of it’s people, and the sometimes painful circumstances that they’ve found themselves in over the years. But amidst the poverty, the clambering up the ladder and the scarring experiences, there are light-filled moments. Tender, graceful and moving.