• Gaili Schoen

Lucy by the Sea


"I looked around...and I thought: Mom, I don't know who to trust. And my mother -- the nice one I had made up over the years -- said to me immediately: Lucy, you trust yourself."

Hi Book Buddies


I just finished Lucy by the Sea which is the follow up to Oh William! by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Elizabeth Strout. The release of Lucy by the Sea last week was timed just right because most of us are just entering a time when we can recall the early days of Covid-19 without too much antipathy. In fact it was good for me to remember how frightened we all were in the early Covid pre-vaccine days, and to process those dreadful memories through literature.


The story opens with novelist Lucy's ex-husband William, who is a scientist, reaching out to her to convince her to move up to Maine with him to escape the escalating Covid-19 virus in New York City.

"Lucy, let me take you out of this city. You're not young, and you're scrawny and you never exercise. You're at risk. So let me pick you up and we'll go.... Just for a few weeks."

William also convinces their two daughters to move out of the city with their husbands.


As always, Strout tells stories of daily life simply and beautifully: the struggles, the worries, the drama, the triumphs, the connections and the distances. Lucy reflects on her childhood of poverty, and issues with various family members. She is observant and philosophical:

“We all live with people -- and places -- and things -- that we have given great weight to. But we are weightless, in the end.”

While waiting out the pandemic, Lucy walks (masked) with new and old friends, writes stories, worries about her daughters' marital problems and their health, suffers through some fatal fallout from Covid, and grows increasingly more comfortable living away from New York City with William. She wonders what direction their relationship should take, and so do we!

“It is a gift in this life that we do not know what awaits us.”

Hardcover 304 pages; Audiobook 8 hours,19 minutes


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