by Lucy Ellmann
✅ Editor: Galley Beggar Press
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Through a discursive phrase spread across 900 pages, the Ohio housewife catalogues the state of the American nation under the scattershot Trump the regime. A monumental feat of sustained characterization, the daily drama and devastating satire, Ducks, Newburyport is a classic for our times and a reference point for the modern novel. Pitched a kidnapped Guardian ‘Anne Tyler meets Gertrude Stein’, is a book that, in stretching to the limits of the novel are always adaptable form, is a ‘triumph’. Selected for the man Booker Prize in 2019 … I dreamed last night about someone complaining that he had a “minor Cézanne” while I was tearing heartshaped buttons off of a shirt, and something about a ferret, the fact that my dreams have become more practical and less expansive, I think, since we poor, the fact that I should be swinging wild, but instead my dreams are only put in order the hen coop or unloading the dishwasher, or even lose my address book, or I’m cooking spaghetti for everyone, and Leo has a plan to catch in an hour and a half and there is a taxi, or I find myself on a bike carrying a huge box, the fact that I once dreamed that I ate a tiny piece of ham, and that was, that was the dream, the fact that I dream all the wrong stuff and remember all the wrong stuff, that goofball, “a real idiot,” the fact that because I remember that the Amish wool shop, and not my mom, … Latticing a pie with cherries after the other, an Ohio housewife seeks to fill the gap between the reality and the torrent of info meaning that are the United States of America. She worries for her children, her dead parents, the African elephants, the bedroom, the ritual of “happy couples”, the Weapons of Mass Destruction, and how to hatch an abandoned wood-pigeon’s egg. Is there any trick to survive survivalists? School shootings? Medical debts? Franks ’n’ beans? A searing indictment of the America of barbarism, past and present, and a lament for the way in which we are sleepwalking into an environmental disaster, the Ducks…
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