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Elizabeth Strout’s triumphant Lucy by the Sea relives Covid pandemic at a safe distance

Sequel to Booker Prize shortlisted Oh, William! weaves in big US events such as the killing of George Floyd and the Joe Biden vs Donald Trump election

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Elizabeth Strout deftly weaves into the narrative the earlier plotlines. Photo: Leonard Cendamo

Elizabeth Strout deftly weaves into the narrative the earlier plotlines. Photo: Leonard Cendamo

'Lucy by the Sea' is an interesting reflection on isolation and loneliness

'Lucy by the Sea' is an interesting reflection on isolation and loneliness

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Elizabeth Strout deftly weaves into the narrative the earlier plotlines. Photo: Leonard Cendamo

Towards the end of Lucy by the Sea, Elizabeth Strout’s latest novel, the eponymous Lucy observes: “We are all in lockdown, all the time. We just don’t know it, that’s all”.

The preceding 284 pages are such an accurate, albeit fictional, account of year one of the pandemic that there will be people who can’t bear to read this book and relive those 12 months. But such are the many universal truths contained within its pages – such as the above quote – that it would be a shame to dismiss it.


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