Today’s Critical Linking is sponsored by My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout.
Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable.
The books, while primarily intended to entertain, packed in more than a pinch of kid-friendly feminism. They pass the Bechdel test—adapted here to mean a work of fiction featuring at least two girls talking about something other than a boy—and arguably pass the more recently conceived and more loosely defined DuVernay test, a similar metric for racial diversity.
I’m sorry I can’t be with you in person, but please know that I am most definitely with you in spirit and honored to be receiving such a prestigious prize. Being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature is something I never could have imagined or seen coming.