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My Name Is Lucy Barton cover art

My Name Is Lucy Barton

By: Elizabeth Strout
Narrated by: Kimberly Farr
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Summary

Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout, read by Kimberly Farr.

A mother comes to visit her daughter in hospital after having not seen her in many years. Her unexpected visit forces Lucy to confront her past, uncovering long-buried memories of a profoundly impoverished childhood, and her present, as the façade of her new life in New York begins to crumble, awakening her to the reality of her faltering marriage and her unsteady journey towards becoming a writer.

From Lucy's hospital bed, we are drawn ever more deeply into the emotional complexity of family life, the inescapable power of the past and the memories - however painful - that bind a family together.

©2016 Elizabeth Strout (P)2016 Penguin Audio

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What listeners say about My Name Is Lucy Barton

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
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    2 out of 5 stars

Feeling empty

I'm not sure why this is so, but I'm left feeling that someone, not too close to me, has died. Why was this narrator chosen? And who directed her? Her voice and style seem so very unsuitable, to such an extent that I find it difficult to judge the book accurately. This is a performance suited to Little Women or somesuch. Every time a contemporary reference is made - the advent of emails or the 9:11 tragedy and others, it jarred, because throughout you think you're listening to a story from the 19th century. The accent, lack of current intonation, lack of pace and tone, all contribute to a folksy boredom. Was the reader the poor choice of the publisher? I can't tell whether the book itself is the problem too, or only the reader and I'm certainly not going to buy the book in print to find out. Perhaps the author was going for a plodding description of uninteresting minutiae in the mistaken thought that it would be, in and of itself, something calm, beautiful and thought-provoking. It has failed where many authors have triumphed. I was recommended to this author. After this book I'm not tempted to see if I've simply chosen the wrong one. I'm sadly disappointed.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Perfection

Such a beautiful, sensitive story and so exquisitely read. Listen to it and you'll see.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Remarkable

Previously read this amazing book and loved it. This narration brought it to life once more and gave it added empathy. Will stay with me.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Easy to listen to

but this seemed to me ultimately unsatisfying. Nothing in the mother/daughter relationships resonated, and there were dangling threads or vagueness which I wanted to find more in than I could. The narrator is excellent, however.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

Wish I’d read all the reviews first. I really don’t understand the praise heaped on this book. It started well enough but then the story seems to have been curtailed into short summaries and I had to check whether I had an abridged version by mistake.
I found the narrator rather annoying.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A subtle tapestry of family relationships

What made the experience of listening to My Name Is Lucy Barton the most enjoyable?

Like all of Elizabeth Strout's works this is beautifully written. The anecdotes that make up Lucy's past are fascinating to listen to.

What did you like best about this story?

This is not a novel of action, more of meditation. I feel you could listen to any part of it and be moved.

Which character – as performed by Kimberly Farr – was your favourite?

The novel is told in the first person so it is Lucy's voice we hear.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Too many to mention but the last few lines are really moving.

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11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Absorbing. I felt I really knew her

It's rare that I feel such empathy for a fictional character but here I really do. It is tender, a little disturbing in places, and has such humanity in Lucy's memories and observations. I have known some of the brokenness she has and say to people who are confused or unconvinced by the mother-daughter relationship, that you should listen again and hear the complex layers of love, rejection, hurting, forgiveness, need and acceptance of what is and what has been. I love its flowing narrative; its honesty and believability. Lucy is a flawed human as we all are but there is a gentle beauty in her story.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Sad

Such a sad book about a very sad childhood. Thought the narration suited it perfectly. Can’t say I can recommend it, but it did make me think about my own childhood and relationship with my mother in a different light.
I realise that actually I have a lot to be grateful for.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful storytelling

I am a big fan of this author's take on 'small lives' Wonderfully narrated.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Well constructed characters and an insight into one woman's relationships

The story for me, was a slow burner, but wove a tale of the relationships of Lucy Barton and their long lasting effect on her. I'm a bit ambivalent towards the main character but I did find myself engrossed. There was something about the performance, I couldn't quite put my finger on. Maybe strange intonation but I found it distracting at some points, with my mind trying to work out what it was.

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