Connecticut Post (Sunday)
Elizabeth Strout writes a ‘Lucy Barton’ sequel
“Oh William!” by Elizabeth Strout (Random House)
Elizabeth Strout has written another voice-driven novel, the third in a series of books about the fictional writer Lucy Barton and the people she grew up with in a small town in rural Illinois.
“Oh William!” returns to the first-person perspective of 2016’s bestselling “My Name is Lucy Barton,” narrated by Lucy as she slowly recovers from what should have been a routine operation and her mother, from whom she’s been estranged, comes to see her in New York.
A year later, Strout published “Anything is Possible,” a collection of linked stories told in the third person about the characters in Lucy’s hometown of Amgash, now reconciling their memories of her poor and abusive childhood with her newfound fame as a writer.
The new novel picks up Lucy’s story when she is in her 60s. Her second husband has died, and her first husband, with whom she has two grown daughters, turns to her for help when he starts to have night terrors. Around the same time, William’s much younger third wife leaves him, and he discovers that his mother, whom he revered, abandoned her first marriage and a baby daughter to marry his father.
Nevertheless, if you loved “Lucy Barton,” you’re sure to love this one. If you didn’t, not so much.