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By the Sea: By the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2021

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Rather than recap and analyse the story, I'd just add that it's beautifully told, very easy reading and worth all the accolades that have been heaped upon it.

I also appreciate that the Lucy books are on the shorter side and Strout inserts lots of breaks and pauses throughout. This novel is a great example of how Arab families are intertwined, connected, influenced, and involved with each other. Lucy By The Sea holds its own as an engaging and relatable story, where human bonds of love and meaning — over-examined and frayed as they may become in crisis — still serve as the essence of what makes us feel we matter and belong.The sea of the title is both the literal sea that Saleh lives beside - first the Indian Ocean, then the sea off a nameless English seaside town - and the sea-as-metaphor, profound, protean.

After reading this latest instalment of the “Barton” series, I can truly say Lucy and I have been on some incredible journey together. one scarcely dares breathe while reading it for fear of breaking the enchantment ― The Times --This text refers to the paperback edition. Skin is, after all just a few layers of protein, carbohydrates, water and gunk that cover each and every one of us – but it’s not who we are, we don’t need to know what Lucy looks like. Strout’s secret sauce, I think, is her ability to show Lucy’s feelings instead of telling us about them. We have become part of this universe that unfolds in front of us at a level where picturesque or exoticism become simply beauty and diversity.I got to know the tides: I mean I got to understand when they went out and came back in, and they comforted me.

But he looked up from leafing through my joke document with a look of suppressed joy in his eyes, like a fisherman who has just felt a tug on the line.Gurnah’s latest (after Paradise) follows an East African immigrant living in a small English town as he and his family reckon with his past, which has long been shrouded in mystery. Sad and heartfelt, Gurnah, the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature winner and an immigrant himself born in Zanzibar now teaching in England, tells the intertwined story of two families in colonial and post-colonial East Africa. I wlaked slowly, surprised at every anxious turn that an instruction awaited to tell me where to go.

However, this unfair treatment is marginalised by the deception, bitterness and revenge that reverberates between the two families of Gurnah's story. Strout has said, as did Lucy, that she always wants to know what it feels like to be another person. Think of the Babylonian epic Gilgamesh, now 5,000 years old and dense as ever with revelations; or the Odyssey (actually, Homer is said to have filched scenes from Gilgamesh). With her trademark spare, crystalline prose — a voice infused with “intimate, fragile, desperate humanness” ( The Washington Post) —Elizabeth Strout turns her exquisitely tuned eye to the inner workings of the human heart, following the indomitable heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton through the early days of the pandemic.

At times, the story seems to drift too far into the past, and you end up on distant shores wondering why Abdulrazak has left you there, but down each branching river, you end up by the same shore, realising that each diverging stream had an effect that ultimately led to Saleh's persecution and need for asylum. So glad to have had the chance again to meet and join you in your reflection of life during lockdown. You want to read on to see why Saleh has sought asylum when his life (from what we are told) has been full of enteprise and comfort. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Helen Murdoch and Helen's Book Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. I mean, I really heard her voice—so much that I realized I was channeling Strout, thinking sentences aloud in my head that sounded just like Lucy’s.

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