WINNER OF THEGOLDSMITHS PRIZE SHORTLISTED FOR THEBOOKER PRIZE A NEW YORKER BEST BOOK OFA NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OFA TIME MUST READ BOOK OFThis book has its face pressed up against the pane of the present its form mimics the way our minds move now toggling between tabs, between the needs of small children and aging parents, between news of ecological collapse and school shootings while somehow remembering to pay taxes and fold the laundry Parul Sehgal, New York Times Baking a multitude of tartes tatins for local restaurants, an Ohio housewife contemplates her four kids, husband, cats and chickens Also, America s ignoble past, and her own regrets She is surrounded by dead lakes, fake facts, Open Carry maniacs, and oodles of online advice about survivalism, veil toss duties, and how to be like Jane Fonda But what do you do when you keep stepping on your son s toy tractors, your life depends on stolen land and broken treaties, and nobody helps you when you get a flat tire on the interstate, not even the Abominable Snowman When are you allowed to start swearing With a torrent of consciousness and an intoxicating coziness, Ducks, Newburyport lays out a whole world for you to tramp around in, by turns frightening and funny A heart rending indictment of America s barbarity, and a lament for the way we are blundering into environmental disaster, this book is both heresy and a revolution in the novel

15 thoughts on “DUCKS NEWBURYPORT

  1. Skeoghman Skeoghman says:

    Don t be put of by the length and the unbroken structure a thousand pages, and to all intents filled by a single sentence once you ve started and settled in you never want it to end Wise, funny, astute and utterly human.

  2. Fleety Fleety says:

    The fact that this book is basically in one sentence does tend to mean, I find, that you have to be in the right state of mind to read it, but once you catch that state and have a few hours to spare at a time it s not a few pages at a time kind of book I think people would really enjoy this, the fact I could never finish Infinite Jest by the late David Foster Wallace did make me slightly apprehensive at even starting this book As I hate NOT finishing a book, whatever it is, I even ploughed through a Mills and Boon three books in one for kicks and giggles once yes there is a void in my life but I thought I d give it a go, as I do like to whomp a book on the shelf and think I ve read that that void again , it won t be for everyone, it wasn t for me at some points, I most likely will be wrong but I don t think it will win The Booker Prize, last years Milkman was another lack of full stops stream of conci wotsit , I think Last Boat To Tangier will win AND made into a play turns out I was wrong, didn t even make the Shortlist , just my opinion, but I think it s going to be one of those books that will be around for years, fact.

  3. MisterHobgoblin MisterHobgoblin says:

    My Kindle tells me that Ducks, Newburyport would take 38 hours to read I gave it two hours of my life that I will never get back.In broad terms, this is stream of consciousness narration The narrator, an American housewife, shares her every innermost thought just as they happen This produces long lists, word association streams and the occasional sentence Oh, and the constant and infernal tic the fact that It was not convincing, it felt contrived, repetitive, boring.I am sure there is a technical skill required to sustain such a voice over so many pages but I couldn t see the point I suspect that underneath all the ticcing, digression and trite social observations that there will be a short story Readers who have persevered with this and reached the end will probably perceive that story to be profound than it really is because of the effort required to uncover it But maybe it really is good I ll never know.Writers who produce long books have, in my mind, a greater obligation than other writers to justify the claim on readers time that their works impose I would love to hear Lucy Ellmann s explanation of how she ever thought this work might be worth the time it would take me to read eight shorter, less repetitive, tighter novels.

  4. J. Lockwood J. Lockwood says:

    It s likely that not everyone will appreciate a novel that runs to almost 1,000 pages without a full stop For me, the length of the book was not an issue, but rather it helped clench my decision to purchase an electronic rather than a paper version of the book As for its structure well, I find chapter breaks less useful in an e book anyway Plus the fact that a long boo is not necessarily harder to read than a shorter, denser novel.If this as well as some less positive reviews has not put you off, then please take the plunge.I m glad that I did Ellmann s characters are entirely believable, as is the plot that gradually unfolds The main unnamed character is as real a person as you are ever likely to meet in fiction, defined as she is by the inner monologue that all of us carry on but few ever give expression to Like all of us, she finds life challenging but also exhilarating She lives a life circumscribed by family, work and home, yet takes an active interest in the world around her and the views of others in particular, those she disagrees with She is very much an introvert, internalising the encounters that cause her stress, anger or embarrassment I find I can identify with her, and perhaps this is one reason why I find the book so appealing.I agree with other reviewers who suggest that this book needs to be read in longer chunks if possible like Proust, whose A la Recherche du Temps Perdu I am also reading, a long reading session allows you to immerse yourself in the character and their inner as well as outer experience But I have also necessarily been found to read this and Proust in shorter chunks, and this works too.I am still only a little than halfway through this book Already I don t want it to end Please, Booker judges, don t dismiss this novel on account of its length and structure I imagine you won t, or it wouldn t have got this far

  5. JCT JCT says:

    This is a wonderful extensive long stream of consciousness on the life, during the life, of a young woman, mother of four, professional baker and self professed worrier and coward As the book progresses the connection between the woman s thoughts and the story of the cougar become obvious and interlinked Some of her worries are well founded, others are not just like life The strain of reading a huge sentence with no full stops becomes less as the connecting phrase the fact that is absorbed unconsciously so that it becomes a punctuation mark People have compared this novel to Joyce s Ulysses and for me that is fair and I rather think that for me this is the better book, it echoes my life and experience genuinely, it has very funny moments, a plot and a quite happy ending I think it should win the Booker prize It could be the best book I have read for many years

  6. Mr Nick Mr Nick says:

    Molly Bloom, the Joyce character not the poker playing entrepreneur, meets Thomas Bernhard in a dazzling portrait of what it is to be alive today The number of times the narrator articulates things I have nearly thought was uncanny I wanted to highlight entire sections Joyce wanted it to be possible to recreate Dublin from Ulysses Ellmann will make it possible to understand how we thought about Trump, guns, the environment, movies, parenthood, the works Remarkable.

  7. Dominic Jericho Dominic Jericho says:

    It s not every day you finish a book that you think could become one of your favourite books of all time Today is one of those days I have just finished Lucy Ellmann s wonderfully expansive, broad shouldered epic, and am left bereft that, now the one thousand page one sentence is complete, whatever I read next will ultimately be a disappointment.My copy bears a provocative quote comparing the work to Ulysses, from that esteemed curator of literary excellence, Cosmopolitan While this work has none of the intricacy, parody or depth of Ulysses, it is wrong to think of its qualities as in any way reductive Unlike many modern novels which simply ignore or surrender attempts to stretch the form, Ellmann at least here is playing with the narrative structures and introduces welcome word play that bring to mind the subtle leaps and change of tone that Joyce s stream of consciousness pioneered.As a Joycean and it is worth noting the Joycean connections the author s father wrote the renowned literary biography I have to remind myself that there are in my view, odd people out there who don t like Ulysses But where Ulysses trips them up, confounds or confuses, Ducks, Newburyport however may very well be for them It is generous and inclusive in way that represents the best traditions of the American novel its mode of narrative the falling thoughts of a mother in Ohio plenty of commas but no full stops encompasses Alec Baldwin, Trump, gun laws, gun atrocities, lionesses, Harrison Ford, cinnamon rolls, baking, motherhood, having children, losing parents, America, television, chickens, pollution, Dustin Hoffman, and much, much This is the kind of book that can be read again and again and again and new things will be noticed each time.The interspersing narrative, a lioness losing and searching for her cubs, provides some relief from the intensity and full throttled speed of the main story, but each interlude serves to only heighten the appreciation and delight of the wonder and variety of language, sentiment and lemon drizzle cakes of the housewife s life When it is over and there is a shocking but appropriate climax the reader is left feeling like a loved one has died, or at least this reader, temporarily felt that way.

  8. dancinggirl dancinggirl says:

    Terrible, unbearable drivel Worst book I have ever picked up If anyone can enjoy 1000 pages over someone repeating the fact that this, the fact that that over and over again then good luck to them.

  9. peggysue23 peggysue23 says:

    I was unsure about reading this book, put off by its length and some of the reviews I can see why many have not liked it and I did, early on, wonder if it was the emperors new clothes and the most pretentious book I had ever read Nevertheless I am glad I put those doubts to one side and stayed with it because ultimately I enjoyed it The structure essentially one long sentence but interspersed with the phrase the fact that which serves as a break in the narrative takes some time to process and this is not a book to read on the train it needs time to fall into her thought patterns We learn a lot about her her name is never disclosed or if it is then I missed it She is twice married, has 4 children 3 with second husband , is thin,once a teacher but now a self employed maker of pies and cakes for local businesses, pre menopause, had had cancer, has a brother and sister with whom she has limited contact She ruminates about her children, about factory farming, climate change, Trump, single use plastics, gun crime as well as black and white films Katherine Hepburn and Bette Davis for some reason Meryl Streep, her home and her husband These are interspersed with a shorter, conventionally written narrative concerning a mountain lion At first well for a few hundred pages to be honest these ruminations appear random but gradually the threads become clearer One recurring thread is the loss she has experienced in the early death of her parents Another is her worries about her health One of the skills of the book is the way these threads are bought together to a denouement I had not foreseen It s not perfect, hence the 4 not 5 Some of the ruminations go on too long pages of shopping lists, names of pies, names of creeks and I found myself skipping over these And I think the thought processes regarding films could have been tightly edited A very slightly shorter book might have delivered But it as stayed with me and I find myself thinking about it every so often which is than can be said for many books I read.

  10. A. Hunt A. Hunt says:

    At a first look, this very long book consisting of a gigantic, never ending sentence with the repeated tick of the fact that would not look to be a tempting prospect But once a book has a Booker shortlisting, it s very likely to be worth putting in some time and effort to read it As indeed Lucy Ellmann s magnum opus is It s funny in places, strange in others, but overall, eventually it does suddenly all hang together And the language in itself makes it worth dipping in and out of Definitely worth it

  11. Nataylo Nataylo says:

    I was intrigued by the innovative approach to this book Got through about half before admitting I was waiting my time reading someone s mental, run on sentence No story, just an illustration of why everyone should meditate to control our monkey brain which jumps all over the place Listening to your mind is better than getting through this.

  12. Page27 Page27 says:

    I loved Lucy Ellman s first novel and was looking forward to this one, but I found it so repetitive and irritating I couldn t read than 50 pages Very disappointing.

  13. Karen Hartley Karen Hartley says:

    I am still reading this book, but it is addictive and you can easily pick it up and put it down.


    Once you begin it takes grit and determination to complete A bleak and sad commentary of the world I m glad I stayed with it, as the ending justified the commitment.

  15. Roy Roy says: