Ducks, Newburyport: Book summary and reviews of Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann

Ducks, Newburyport

by Lucy Ellmann

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann X
Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2019
    1040 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Baking a multitude of tartes tatins for local restaurants, an Ohio housewife contemplates her four kids, husband, cats and chickens. Also, America's ignoble past, and her own regrets.

She is surrounded by dead lakes, fake facts, Open Carry maniacs, and oodles of online advice about survivalism, veil toss duties, and how to be more like Jane Fonda. But what do you do when you keep stepping on your son's toy tractors, your life depends on stolen land and broken treaties, and nobody helps you when you get a flat tire on the interstate, not even the Abominable Snowman? When are you allowed to start swearing? With a torrent of consciousness and an intoxicating coziness, Ducks, Newburyport lays out a whole world for you to tramp around in, by turns frightening and funny. A heart-rending indictment of America's barbarity, and a lament for the way we are blundering into environmental disaster, this book is both heresy―and a revolution in the novel.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"This jumble of cascading thoughts provides a remarkable portrait of a woman in contemporary America contemplating her own life and society's storm clouds, such as the Flint water crisis, gun violence, and the Trump presidency....Ellmann's work is challenging but undoubtedly brilliant." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A jaw-dropping miracle." - Library Journal (starred review)

"Ulysses has nothing on this...Once you get going, you'll be too absorbed to stop." - Cosmopolitan

"Literary experimentation that, while surely innovative, could have made its point in a quarter the space." - Kirkus Reviews

"Breathlessly brilliant...an extraordinary achievement of wit and imagination...this isn't just one of the outstanding books of 2019, it's one of the outstanding books of the century, so far." - The Irish Times

"The unstoppable monologue of an Ohio housewife in Lucy Ellmann's extraordinary Ducks, Newburyport is like nothing you've ever read before. A cacophony of humour, violence, and Joycean word play, it engages – furiously – with the detritus of domesticity as well as Trump's America. This audacious and epic novel is brilliantly conceived, and challenges the reader with its virtuosity and originality." - 2019 Booker Prize Jury Citation

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More Information

Novelist Lucy Ellmann was born on 18 October 1956 in Evanston, Illinois, the daughter of biographer Richard Ellmann and writer Mary Ellmann (née Donahue). She moved to England at the age of 13 and was educated at Falmouth School of Art (Foundation degree, 1975), Essex University (BA, 1980), and the Courtauld Institute of Art (MA, 1981).

Her highly-praised autobiographical first novel, Sweet Desserts (1988), was awarded the Guardian Fiction Prize. Both her second book, Varying Degrees of Hopelessness (1991), and her third, Man or Mango? (1998), were shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction).

Lucy Ellmann is a regular contributor of articles on art and fiction to Artforum, Modern Painters, the Guardian, the Listener, the New Statesman, and the Times Literary Supplement. She is also a screenwriter and was a Hawthornden Fellow in 1992. Her novel, Dot in the Universe, a comic, poignant tale, was published in 2003, followed by Doctors and Nurses in 2006, Mimi in 2013, and Ducks, Newbury in 2019.

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