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So Lucky

A Novel
Narrated by: Nicola Griffith
Length: 4 hrs and 51 mins
4.0 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Summary

From the author of Hild, a fierce and urgent autobiographical audiobook about a woman facing down a formidable foe. 

So Lucky is the sharp, surprising new audiobook by Nicola Griffith - the profoundly personal and emphatically political story of a confident woman forced to confront an unnerving new reality when in the space of a single week her wife leaves her and she is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. 

Mara Tagarelli is, professionally, the head of a multimillion-dollar AIDS foundation; personally, she is a committed martial artist. But her life has turned inside out like a sock. She can’t rely on family, her body is letting her down, and friends and colleagues are turning away - they treat her like a victim. She needs to break that narrative: build her own community, learn new strengths, and fight. But what do you do when you find out that the story you’ve been told, the story you’ve told yourself, is not true? How can you fight if you can’t trust your body? Who can you rely on if those around you don’t have your best interests at heart, and the systems designed to help do more harm than good? Mara makes a decision and acts, but her actions unleash monsters aimed squarely at the heart of her new community. 

This is fiction from the front lines, incandescent and urgent, a narrative juggernaut that rips through sentiment to expose the savagery of America’s treatment of the disabled and chronically ill. But So Lucky also blazes with hope and a ferocious love of self, of the life that becomes possible when we stop believing lies.

©2018 Nicola Griffith (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

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Profile Image for Marcos Ibarguen
  • Marcos Ibarguen
  • 07-07-18

Painfully autobiographical... and GOOD

First off, this is really not a novel, more like a novella. It follows a very active, martial-arts-ass-kicking lesbian woman through her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, her divorce, her completely unfair firing from her job as a non-profit director, her effort to start a new non-profit to help “cripples” like her, AND a scary subplot where she discovers MS victims are being further victimized by a group of serial torturer/robber/killers. In other words, it’s Nicola Griffith’s own story, with a few embellishments. It’s kind of a lot to pack into a very short book, and I can’t claim to have loved it as I have loved most of her other work, but I have to say that the personal touch she applies is quite moving. In particular, her description of the process a person in a wheelchair goes thru in the TSA line – so dehumanizing, so WRONG – really got to me. I mean, even if it’s “only” old age and not a monster like MS, all of us eventually lose the physical gifts of youth, right? Griffith appears to have written this as a bit of therapy to deal with her own MS, but I think it works for all readers willing to give it a try, and it does have a little bit of an uplifting component in terms of the protagonist regaining her feistiness in the end… I hope Griffith’s health, and interest, allows her to write some more – preferably another “Slow River”, but really anything. Her small but powerful body of work in what might be narrowly termed “lesbian fiction” has been eye-opening and amazing to me. And by the way, she's a pretty damn good reader too!!!

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  • Margaret Snow
  • 26-09-20

Wow. Book great. Performance wonderful

Wow. What a book. So sorry that Nicola is experiencing a pretty brutal version of MS, but so glad that she has shared a of what it felt like at the onset. Her website states: Writer. Queer Cripple with a PhD. Seattle and Leeds. I love Nicola Griffith's voice. The narration is well done. It is a bit mind altering to hear the formal British accent because I started reading her books with The Blue Place and Aud Torvigen. I had her fixed in the southeast US. The book is described as an autobiographical novel. It is a high energy, page turner. Mara, the protagonist moves quickly from a martial arts proficient, director of a large charity, to unemployed, and hospitalized with MS. Griffith successfully describes a horrible sense of vertigo and total upheaval that seems very real. She provides a glimpse into the comparatively wonderful patient centered world of AIDS advocacy, and the contrasts that with her initial experience with MS support groups. She conveys the frustration and uncertainty that seem to shroud everything about the MS experience from the causes of flareups to the "exact mechanism of action unknown" of the disease modifying drugs available. Griffith portrays Mara going through a terrifying process of suddenly being thrust into a disabled, unreliable body, and waking to the demoralizing situation of being a disabled person in the US. I hope that her 1990's representation is improved in 2020, but don't have much faith that it has. She shows us how if feels to be treated like a piece of luggage by the wheelchair porters and security agents at an airport, and like a patient/specimen at an advocacy organization conference. Mara struggles to regain her sense of self while MS exacerbations, and drug side effects impair her ability to move or think. She describes the necessarily self centered focus while Mara determines whether she can live with this disability. The side story is compelling and educating about how much autonomy persons with disability are forced to give away in so many areas of their lives, in part by the impairments of the disease and in part by the realities of the healthcare systems, and other systems within which they must work to get the services required. In the end, it is nice to get a glimpse of Mara coming out on the other side of the trauma that was her first year as a disabled, person, to see her finding her way, and to see society giving her some validation of her worth, despite her disability.

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  • @MM_Gadget_Girl
  • 18-08-20

The plight is there for many...

Well written, well read. Many people do not think to look at things from someone else's perspective. This book will help do just that. I hope many will read it and just take that one thing away... There is an epiphany there in the reading for each of us on either side - to say more may spoil the book..This is dégivrer worth listening to.

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  • David A Fouchey
  • 12-09-19

MS is the disease my mother succumbed to this rings so true

I’ve been a fan of Nicola’s work for some time but never thought she would tackle this subject. Boy am I ever glad she did. It was a visceral telling of the very things my mum went through and helped me understand it better. I am also glad she narrated it herself as you could feel the emotions those disease stirs up in people. Thank you so much for writing this Nicola I look forward you your next book as always. My best to you. Dave Fouchey.

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  • Kellyoyo
  • 26-10-18

Author’s own voice is perfect

Nicola Griffith narrates her own novel in this searing performance. I was gripped. It couldn’t be more perfect.

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  • Wehrly
  • 15-07-18

Grim with a good ending

Terrific narration, grim but compelling mindset and experiences, and worth sticking with to the satisfying end. I suspect it is a very realistic portrayal of the awfulness of the first year or so of a chronic illness, it's ugly realities, and how it wrecks your head.

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  • Sheltopia
  • 27-05-18

Breathless and beautiful, wonderful narration

Smart. Scintillating. Scathing. Part thriller. Part horror. And all #CripLit. Wonderfully narrated by the author. A short but high impact listen. A beautiful way with words. Every sentence sharp. Listen for writers: How to have an eclectic oeuvre, not be pigeonholed into genre or style. I look forward to and enjoy Griffith's works, but she always offers something new.