LONGLISTED FOR THE DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE 2013
Lucy is different - 'I don't have right words for things and I have no good behavior' - and she doesn't understand why her mother has sent her to live with the elderly Mister and Missus on their farm. Yet she knows she must never leave or else her mother won't be able to find her again.
But when something terrible happens to Samantha, her only friend on the farm, Lucy embarks on a dangerous journey, willing to risk everything for her.
Julie Sarkissian's enchanting and enthralling debut novel introduces an unforgettable new heroine of contemporary fiction whose original voice, exuberance and bravery linger long after the final page.
Lucy, the developmentally disabled title character of Sarkassian's captivating debut, narrates in a distinct voice that will hold up to the inevitable comparisons to Room and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. With her captivating personality and peculiar opinions, Lucy guides the reader through a twisting plot she too is struggling to understand. Sent by her selfish mother to live on a chicken farm run by a couple known only as Mister and Missus, Lucy's closest companion is Samantha, a young pregnant girl whose family has also sent her away. Missus and Samantha take brief turns narrating, revealing parts of the story hidden from Lucy, including that Samantha will give up her baby to Missus and Mister whose own pregnant daughter disappeared. But after the child is born, Samantha finds herself unwilling to give it up, especially when she discovers the truth about the couple's original daughter. Determined to reunite Samantha with her child as she longs to be reunited with her own mother, Lucy sets out on a meandering quest with a fanciful spirit guide in the form of a baby chick. The three narrators' vastly different beliefs about motherhood are touching and often painful, and Lucy's charm makes the story's inherent darkness easier to bear.