This is the first book I finished in 2017, and I loved it. My Name is Lucy Barton makes you think about family, about the past, and about memory.
Elizabeth Strout dispenses with sentimentality, preferring a quiet yet luminous voice to tell the story of Lucy Barton, who, having fallen gravely ill, is reunited with her estranged mother in a hospital room. Over the course of several nights, the pair talk more than they may have done in their entire relationship. The beauty of this story, told from some point in the future, is that though much is explored, not everything is resolved.
Strout handles deprivation, both emotional and material, and the complexities of family bonds with deftness. The reader is allowed room to fully consider the impact of a bad start in life on the protagonist.
There are also some beautiful insights on writing and the writing life, as Lucy Barton is taking the first steps towards becoming a successful author.