Summary and book reviews of Edgar and Lucy by Victor Lodato

Edgar and Lucy

by Victor Lodato

Edgar and Lucy by Victor Lodato X
Edgar and Lucy by Victor Lodato
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2017, 544 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 13, 2018, 544 pages

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Book Summary

A new literary novel from Weissberg Award winning playwright and PEN USA Award for Fiction winning writer Victor Lodato, Edgar and Lucy is a masterfully written story of a broken family struggling to stay together.

Eight-year-old Edgar Fini's loyalty is torn between the two women in his life. There's his mother, Lucy, who, though she has moments where she loves him, mostly disappears at night with her various "suitors." And then there's his grandmother, Florence, who dotes on him to the point where she is at a loss when he isn't around. Since his father's suicide, Florence and Edgar's relationship has become obsessive, each fully dependent on the other. When Florence suddenly dies, Lucy is thrown into the role of main caretaker and doesn't know how to handle her new job. But as Edgar and Lucy adjust, they must also deal with Ron, a local butcher who wants to court Lucy, and Conrad, an unsettlingly attentive adult whose intentions are at one more sinister and more innocent than Edgar could ever know.

After Conrad separates Edgar from his mother, the man and the boy form a home life of two, isolated deep in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, an arrangement that is not at all one-sided, even as Lucy, their hometown, and as time goes on, a wider world hunts for the boy.

1

Chanel Nº 5

 

Having a life meant having a story. Even at eight, Edgar knew this.

What he didn't know was his own beginning. Newborn brains were mushy. If you wanted to know how your life had started, you had to get this information from other people.

But what if these people were liars?

"I kept falling asleep," said Lucy. She was speaking of Edgar's birth. The boy liked this particular story, and so he made sure to roll his head in feigned boredom. "Even with all the pain, I was, like—" Lucy opened her mouth and made a stupendous snore sound worthy of a cartoon character. "It was nearly three in the morning when you decided to show your face."

She tossed back her hair and turned to the mirror. "And you didn't make a fuss, either. Doctor said he'd never seen a kid care less about being born. Slip, slap, and back to sleep."

"And then they put me in the box, right? In the glass box?"

"Yup. Because you were so small. And you didn't wake up for a week."

...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. The author considers this book "a love story." Would you agree? If so, what are the various love stories represented? How would you define each of them? As triumphs or tragedies?
  2. Look at the epigraphs throughout the book. Read them again and discuss how they relate to that particular part of the novel?
  3. Think about Edgar's relationships with the two women in his life. Does his extremely close bond to his grandmother Florence seem healthy, or problematic? As for Lucy: What do you think of her as a mother? Is she doing the best she can? Do you feel differently about her by the end of the book?
  4. Think about the element of grief in this book. How does it affect the characters' lives? How does it affect their decisions — and, ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Edgar and Lucy is a deeply moving book and one that I highly recommend for anyone. It would be an especially good book for book clubs as there are so many potential areas of discussion. (Vicki C). The book presents multiple views of deep topics such as death, grief, depression, love, loss, family and abduction. (Kay D). I was fascinated by this book and can visualize an in-depth discussion by book club members (Doris K). This book has everything for the reader of tales: Off kilter characters; family drama; multiple viewpoints; and beautiful readable language. Highly recommended (Maggie R). If you enjoy character-driven stories illustrated with luminous prose, you will enjoy Edgar and Lucy. (Elizabeth K).   (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).

Full Review (1179 words).

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Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

While the plot is suspenseful enough to keep the pages turning, Lovado blunts the edges of difficult subjects such as suicide and child endangerment, making for an emotionally easier story.

Kirkus Reviews

These characters hurtle toward a climax that begins to defy plausibility—the author ties things up with a jarring change in voice at the end—but readers who make it that far are apt to be enraptured already. A domestic fable about grief and redemption likely to leave readers emotionally threadbare.

Booklist

Starred Review. Lodato's remarkable novel traces a broken family's spiritual journey toward healing in moving, magical prose.

Library Journal

Starred Review. Flirting with danger on many fronts, this second novel from the author of the award-winning Mathilda Savitch is perceptive, compassionate, and humorous, drawing readers into the lives of these quirky yet recognizable and sympathetic characters.

Author Blurb Lena Dunham, bestselling author and Golden Globe-winning actress
I love this book. At once profoundly spiritual and hilariously specific, Victor Lodato's Edgar and Lucy is an unusual and intimate epic that manages to capture the wonder and terror of both child and parenthood with an uncanny clarity. The surprising prose is a pleasure, and never ceases to remind us how fragile human life is yet how unshakeable the bonds. Edgar and Lucy will have you reading until 4am, then reaching for the closest warm body.

Author Blurb Sophie McManus, author of The Unfortunates
I tore through the luminous pages of Edgar and Lucy as if possessed. Edgar's journey from boy to man is that rare tale that's both epic and intimate, as joyful and startlingly original in its language as it is a pleasure to read. The tender, funny, living immediacy of its characters and what is revealed to us about human nature through their twists of fate took my breath away. What this book has to say about love and truth will stay with me for a very, very long time.

Author Blurb Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
This tale gradually exerts a fiendish grip on the reader.

Author Blurb Tom Perrotta, bestselling author of The Leftovers
Edgar and Lucy is a quirky coming-of-age novel that deepens into something dark and strange without losing its heart or its sense of wonder. Victor Lodato writes with lyrical precision and unfailing compassion for his characters.

Author Blurb Dan Torday, author of The Last Flight of Poxl West
Victor Lodato may be our bard of the sadness, humor, and confusion of loss. He senses the absurdities and elation of mourning and childhood with a capacious precision that brings to mind J.D. Salinger, Lorrie Moore, Karen Russell, even James Joyce. Edgar and Lucy will make you feel things you haven't felt in ages. Go read it right now.

Author Blurb Lynn Freed, author of The Servants' Quarters
Victor Lodato's work is complex, elegant, disturbing, beautifully written, and, above all, important. I can say without hesitation that he is a writer who gives me hope for the future of serious literature.

Reader Reviews

Elizabeth K. (Dallas, TX)

An excellent writer, an intriguing story
If you enjoy character-driven stories illustrated with luminous prose, you will enjoy Edgar and Lucy. Edgar's relationship with his grandmother, Florence, his mother Lucy, and Conrad the man who takes him away from his family, comprise the main story...   Read More

Mary O. (Boston, MA)

Gripping
I loved this book that captures childhood and parenthood. It is beautifully written, engrossing and difficult to put down. It evokes a range of emotions and shows creativity at its best. Definitely a great read!

Molly B. (Longmont, CO)

Lovely and compelling
This is a compelling read, easy to get into and stay into. The story is bizarre; and all the side stories are as strange as the main plot. The characters are weird and all damaged in some way, but they are well developed, so I feel like I ...   Read More

Kimberly H. (Stamford, CT)

Edgar and Lucy
This book is a must read. I read it in December and it is one of the best books I have read all year. Love, betrayal, truth. Complex and beautifully written!

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Beyond the Book

Betelgeuse

In Edgar and Lucy, author Victor Lodato often uses the symbolism of stars, especially Betelgeuse.

Artist's impression of BetelgeuseBetelgeuse is a star in the Orion constellation, one of the most easily recognized groups of stars in the night sky. Orion's Belt consists of of three stars (also known as the Three Kings or the Three Sisters). Betelgeuse, officially termed Alpha Orionis is visible above and to the left of Orion's Belt, marking the hunter's shoulder, and is the second brightest object present in the grouping after Rigel. In other cultures the star is associated with the leg of a running stag (ancient India), the leg of a cayman or turtle (Brazil); part of a ceremonial drum (Japan), or one of four vultures about to devour a criminal (Peru).

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