Lucky Us: Book summary and reviews of Lucky Us by Amy Bloom

Lucky Us

by Amy Bloom

Lucky Us by Amy Bloom X
Lucky Us by Amy Bloom
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  • Published Jul 2014
    256 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

"My father's wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us."

So begins this remarkable novel by Amy Bloom, whose critically acclaimed Away was called "a literary triumph" (The New York Times). Lucky Us is a brilliantly written, deeply moving, fantastically funny novel of love, heartbreak, and luck.

Disappointed by their families, Iris, the hopeful star and Eva the sidekick, journey through 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris's ambitions take the pair across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, and to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island.

With their friends in high and low places, Iris and Eva stumble and shine though a landscape of big dreams, scandals, betrayals, and war. Filled with gorgeous writing, memorable characters, and surprising events, Lucky Us is a thrilling and resonant novel about success and failure, good luck and bad, the creation of a family, and the pleasures and inevitable perils of family life, conventional and otherwise. From Brooklyn's beauty parlors to London's West End, a group of unforgettable people love, lie, cheat and survive in this story of our fragile, absurd, heroic species.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

BookBrowse Review
The cover art is imaginative; a lion walking tentatively across a tightrope, over a stage, staring ahead with deep concentration, with a zebra on its back. The image represents Iris Acton (the lion), and her half-sister, Eva (the zebra), who are brought together when Eva's mother abandons her at their father's house, not long after Iris's mother has died. The story stretches from Ohio, to a quick, mere pages-long road trip to Hollywood, where Iris makes it briefly at MGM. But she is unceremoniously dumped when it is revealed she had a lesbian relationship with another actress. Later she lands in New York where, when she's not hoofing it on Broadway, she is governess in a newly-wealthy family.

Lucky Us is the story of a slapdash family in the 1940s, but it feels more slapdash than just the family. There are characters who arrive and then fade out to the point that I found that I lost interest in them because it was unclear which would stick around long enough to get to know. Bloom does present some intriguing questions, such as what Hollywood parties/orgies were like back then, and what was it like to be a lesbian during the 1940s. But it's not enough to carry the entire book. Overall, it's a story about people trying to reach the brass ring, but standing outside of it, never having it for themselves. It could work, but not here. As ever, Bloom is better at writing delightful, witty sentences than creating a structure that works for her characters. It's just a jumble - a passive read rather than one that leads the reader actively curious to find out what comes next. - Rory L. Aronsky


Other Reviews
"Starred Review. Bloom enlivens her story with understated humor as well as offbeat and unforgettable characters. Despite a couple of anachronisms, this is a hard-luck coming-of-age story with heart." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. With a spare and trusting style, Bloom invites readers to fill the spaces her pretty prose allows, with true and beautiful results." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Full of intriguing characters and lots of surprises, it's not for those who have taken a stand against offbeat characters, but readers of literary fiction and 20th-century historicals, as well as fans of wacky humor, will find it an excellent choice." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. With a spare and trusting style, Bloom invites readers to fill the spaces her pretty prose allows, with true and beautiful results." - Booklist

"Bloom is a great writer who keeps stepping into new territory, entirely unafraid. She is one of America's unique and most gifted literary voices." - Colum McCann

"One waits a long time for a novel of this scope and dimension, replete with surgically drawn characters, a mix of comedy and tragedy that borders on the miraculous, and sentences that should be in a sentence museum. Amy Bloom is a treasure." - Michael Cunningham

This information about Lucky Us was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Amy Bloom Author Biography

Photo: © Elena Seibert

Author of three New York Times best-sellers and three collections of short stories, a children's book (another coming in 2022) and a ground-breaking collection of essays. Bloom has been a nominee for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and numerous anthologies here and abroad. She has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, O Magazine and Vogue, among many other publications, and has won a National Magazine Award for Fiction. Her work has been translated into fifteen languages. She has written many pilot scripts, for cable and network, and she created, wrote and ran the excellent, short-lived series State of Mind, starring...

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