SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2019
OBSERVER FICTION PICKS 2019 | THE HERALD FICTION PICKS 2019 | THE IRISH TIMES FICTION PICKS 2019 | SCOTTISH REVIEW OF BOOKS FICTION PICKS 2019 | COSMOPOLITAN FICTION PICKS 2019
An Ohio mother bakes pies while the world bombards her with radioactivity and fake facts. She worries about her children, caramelisation, chickens, guns, tardigrades, medical bills, environmental disaster, mystifying confrontations at the supermarket, and the best time to plant nasturtiums.
She regrets most of her past, a million tiny embarrassments, her poverty, the loss of her mother, and the genocide on which the United States was founded.
But in Lucy Ellmann's scorching indictment of American barbarity comes a plea for kindness. Ducks, Newburyport is a heresy, a wonder, and a revolution in the novel. It is also unforgivably funny.
Lucy Ellmann’s first novel, Sweet Desserts, won the Guardian fiction prize. 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, Evergreen and Baffler. American by birth, she now lives in Scotland.
‘The unstoppable monologue of an Ohio housewife in Lucy Ellmann’s extraordinary Ducks, Newburyport is like nothing you’ve ever read before. A cacophony of humour, violence and Joycean word play, it engages—furiously—with the detritus of domesticity as well as Trump’s America. This audacious and epic novel is brilliantly conceived, and challenges the reader with its virtuosity and originality.’ 2019 Booker Prize Jury Citation
‘A remarkable portrait of a woman in contemporary America contemplating her own life and society’s storm clouds…Brilliant.’ Publishers Weekly (starred review)
‘A wildly ambitious and righteously angry portrait of contemporary America.’ Observer
‘[Readers] will recognise Ellmann’s dauntless cataloguing of desires, her refusal to be anything but self-directed…It’s a book about a mother’s love, but also about loss and grief, and anxiety dreams about Donald Trump, and despair about mass shootings…It is also a catalogue of life’s many injuries and mishaps…and of the simple joys and consolations of memory and imagination. [A] triumph.’ Guardian
‘Ellmann is an expert juggler with words. Her satire is deft, sophisticated and enchantingly surreal.’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Breathlessly brilliant...An extraordinary achievement of wit and imagination...This isn't just one of the outstanding books of 2019, it's one of the outstanding books of the century, so far.’ Irish Times
‘Lunatic and splenetic and distinctive… I begin to suspect [Lucy Ellmann] might be some sort of genius’ Telegraph
‘Reading Ellmann is like finding bits of broken glass in your lollipop.’ Evening Standard
‘Hilarious, eye-wateringly funny…I have found a new hero in Lucy Ellmann.’ Scotsman
‘Ulysses has nothing on this.’ Cosmopolitan
‘Magnificent…Ellman has produced a domestic epic of modern American life in the Trump era.’ Prospect
‘A jaw-dropping miracle.’ Library Journal (starred review)