Ducks, Newburyport (Paperback)
September 2019 Indie Next List
“In 2019’s most ambitious novel, Lucy Ellmann puts us in the mind of one of literature’s most overlooked characters: an average woman and mother doing her best in a world that respects neither women nor mothers. Rambunctiously political, tenderly personal, and profoundly humanist, Ellmann’s simple respect for her protagonist’s thoughts, feelings, faults, and successes is revolutionary. And on top of everything else in this towering achievement of a novel, you’ll find yourself desperately rooting for a mountain lion.”
— Josh Cook, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA
Winter 2019 Reading Group Indie Next List
“The fact that Ducks, Newburyport is over 700 pages, nearly all of which is a single sentence, should not daunt the reader. The book is an unputdownable rant by an anonymous homemaker and pie baker in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. Our narrator streams a running commentary on small-town life, marriage and remarriage, gun violence, the rise of hate in Trump’s America, and her analysis of Little House on the Prairie. It all ratchets up to a startling climax that rewards the reader for their persistence.”
— Grace Harper, Mac's Backs, Cleveland Heights, OH
WINNER OF THE 2019 GOLDSMITHS PRIZE SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2019 BOOKER PRIZE NOMINATED FOR THE 2020 ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL
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 more 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.
About the Author
Lucy Ellmann's first novel, Sweet Desserts, won the Guardian Fiction Prize. It was followed by Varying Degrees of Hopelessness, Man or Mango? A Lament, Dot in the Universe, Doctors & Nurses, Mimi. Her short stories have appeared in magazines, newspapers and anthologies, and she has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, Independent, Independent on Sunday, Times Literary Supplement, Telegraph, New Statesman and Society, Spectator, Herald, Scottish Review of Books, Time Out (London), Art Monthly, Thirsty Books, Bookforum, Aeon, The Evergreen, and The Baffler. A screenplay, The Spy Who Caught a Cold, was filmed and broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK. She edits fiction for the Fiction Atelier (fictionatelier.wordpress.com), and abhors standard ways of teaching Creative Writing, which she considers mostly criminal. Though American by birth, she lives in Scotland.