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“My father’s wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us.”
So begins this remarkable novel by Amy Bloom, whose critically acclaimed Away was called “a literary triumph” (The New York Times). Lucky Us is a brilliantly written, deeply moving, fantastically funny novel of love, heartbreak, and luck.
Disappointed by their families, Iris, the hopeful star and Eva the sidekick, journey through 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris’s ambitions take the pair across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, and to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island.
With their friends in high and low places, Iris and Eva stumble and shine though a landscape of big dreams, scandals, betrayals, and war. Filled with gorgeous writing, memorable characters, and surprising events, Lucky Us is a thrilling and resonant novel about success and failure, good luck and bad, the creation of a family, and the pleasures and inevitable perils of family life, conventional and otherwise. From Brooklyn’s beauty parlors to London’s West End, a group of unforgettable people love, lie, cheat and survive in this story of our fragile, absurd, heroic species.
Praise for Lucky Us
“Lucky Us is a remarkable accomplishment. One waits a long time for a novel of this scope and dimension, replete with surgically drawn characters, a mix of comedy and tragedy that borders on the miraculous, and sentences that should be in a sentence museum. Amy Bloom is a treasure.”—Michael Cunningham
“Exquisite . . . a short, vibrant book about all kinds of people creating all kinds of serial, improvisatory lives.”—The New York Times
“Bighearted, rambunctious . . . a bustling tale of American reinvention . . . If America has a Victor Hugo, it is Amy Bloom, whose picaresque novels roam the world, plumb the human heart and send characters into wild roulettes of kismet and calamity.”—The Washington Post
“Bloom’s crisp, delicious prose gives [Lucky Us] the feel of sprawling, brawling life itself. . . . Lucky Us is a sister act, which means a double dose of sauce and naughtiness from the brilliant Amy Bloom.”—The Oregonian
“A tasty summer read that will leave you smiling . . . Broken hearts [are] held together by lipstick, wisecracks and the enduring love of sisters.”—USA Today
“Exquisitely imagined . . . [a] grand adventure.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“Marvelous picaresque entertainment . . . a festival of joy and terror and lust and amazement that resolves itself here, warts and all, in a kind of crystalline Mozartean clarity of vision.”—Elle
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In the ‘40s, two half-sisters run away from their dapper and neglectful father, leaving the Midwest for Golden Age Hollywood. Bookish and responsible Eva is content living in the shadow of her older sibling Iris, an aspiring starlet with a reckless streak. Evolving in flashbulb episodes that reveal as much as they conceal, Lucky Us is a mesmerizing story that revolves around Eva’s sometimes harrowing path to become her own person and build an unconventional family that can give her the love she deserves. Rich with period details about the social and moral codes of World War II America—as well as dramatic historical truths—Away is a beautiful novel inhabited by flawed and quirky characters who surreptitiously win you over.
Two teenaged half-sisters make their way through WWII-era America in Bloom's imaginative romp. After being left on her father's Ohio doorstep by her absconding mother, 11-year-old Eva meets Iris, the older half-sister she never knew she had. They escape to Hollywood, where Iris hopes to become a movie star. But they wind up on Long Island, where the girls and their father, Edgar, find employment in the home of the nouveau riche Torelli family. Over the course of the story, Edgar develops a relationship with a black jazz singer named Clara Williams, Iris falls in love with the Torellis' cook, Reenie Heitmann, and Eva learns to read the tarot and sets herself up as a psychic. Joining the lively cast is Francisco Diego, a Hollywood makeup artist; Gus, Reenie's German husband, who is deported; and Danny, an orphan who is ultimately raised by Eva. On the way to a gloriously satisfying ending, these characters are separated by fate and distance, but form a vividly rendered patchwork American family (straight, gay, white, black, citizen, immigrant). Bloom (Away) transforms history to create a story of stunning invention, with characters that readers will feel lucky to encounter.
Lucky Us, an Odyssey
A girl's coming of age tale, set in the US during the 40s. Random? Coincidence? Karma? She finds herself and redefines family along the way.
Full of heart!
I recently read another novel by Amy Bloom, AWAY. It was so good and I so thoroughly enjoyed the writing that I immediately decided to read Lucky Us. Now I can’t decide which one I like better!
Engaged me enough to stay with it, but what a motley, weird crew. Moving on now.