Learn about Elizabeth Strout's Lucy Barton books in honour of her Booker prize longlist nomination for Oh William! Learn more about the series and the order in which we recommend reading the four books.
Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout has just made the longlist for The Booker Prize 2022, making it the perfect time to revisit the much-loved Lucy Barton series. The third book in the lineup, Oh William! is a fabulous continuation of Strout’s memorable character, serving as yet another poignant reflection on life, love and the passage of time .
If you haven’t read anything by Elizabeth Strout yet, take this as your sign to do so soon. In addition to this latest recognition, the author has also had titles shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction (previously known as the Orange Prize), the PEN/Faulkner Award, made the New York Times bestseller list and won a Pulitzer prize.
Her accolades speak for themselves, and while you can’t go wrong with any of Strout’s novels, we’ve compiled a reading guide to familiarise you with Oh William! and the Lucy Barton books that precede it.
A reading guide for Elizabeth Strout’s Lucy Barton Books
My Name is Lucy Barton is a heart-wrenching story of mothers, daughters, and the complexity of family life. When a mother visits her daughter in hospital after many years apart, her unexpected visit forces Lucy to face her buried past, upending the façade of her glossy New York life. From Lucy’s hospital bed, readers are drawn into this family’s story and the memories that bind them together.
Following My Name Is Lucy Barton, Anything is Possible tells the story of Lucy returning to her hometown of rural Amgash, Illinois. After seventeen years of absence, Lucy is finally visiting the siblings she left behind. Deepening the family bonds explored in the first book, this sequel underscores the themes of hope and reconciliation that Strout portrays so well.
The third book in the series – and longlist title for the Booker prize 2022 – Oh William! tells the story of the second half of Lucy Barton’s life. Now navigating the world as a recent widow and parent of adult daughters, Lucy seems to be living an entirely new existence until a surprise encounter with her first husband, William, reconnects the couple. Recalling their lifelong relationship, Strout weaves a portrait of a decades-long partnership that once again reflects on the profound mystery of existence.
Coming in September 2022, Lucy by the Sea is a story rich with empathy and searing clarity. When Lucy’s ex-husband William begs her to escape New York to a coastal house in Maine, she reluctantly agrees with the expectation that she’ll be gone only a week or two. As the weeks turn into months, Lucy and William face their complex past together in a little house nestled against the sea.
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