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‘… I dreamt last night about somebody complaining that he owned a “lesser Cézanne” while I was tearing heartshaped buttons off a shirt, and something about a ferret, the fact that my dreams have become more practical and less expansive, I think, since we got poorer, the fact that I should be swinging wild but instead my dreams are just about tidying the hen coop or unloading the dishwasher, or losing my address book, or I’m cooking noodles for everybody and Leo has a plane to catch in half an hour and there’s no taxi, or I find myself on a bicycle carrying a huge box, the fact that once I dreamt I ate one tiny piece of ham, and that was it, that was the whole dream, the fact that I dream all the wrong stuff and remember all the wrong stuff, what a goofball, “a genuine idiot,” the fact that why do I remember that Amish wool shop and not my mom, …’
LATTICING one cherry pie after another, an Ohio housewife tries to bridge the gaps between reality and the torrent of meaningless info that is the United States of America. She worries about her children, her dead parents, African elephants, the bedroom rituals of “happy couples”, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and how to hatch an abandoned wood pigeon egg. Is there some trick to surviving survivalists? School shootings? Medical debts? Franks ’n’ beans?
A scorching indictment of America’s barbarity, past and present, and a lament for the way we are sleepwalking into environmental disaster, Ducks, Newburyport is a heresy, a wonder—and a revolution in the novel.
It’s also very, very funny.
PRAISE FOR DUCKS, NEWBURYPORT
“The time and care [Ellmann] lavishes on her narrator seem like their own form of political speculation—that every individual is owed an unending devotion, and that such devotion, applied universally, might change the fate of the world.” —THE NEW YORKER
"Is it any good? Oh my word, yes. Reading it at this point in time feels like an act of human solidarity, a commitment to a world of truth and reason." —LITERARY REVIEW
"Ignore the laundry. Let this novel open like an oubliette under your feet." —Parul Sehgal, THE NEW YORK TIMES
“In her latest novel, Lucy Ellmann doesn’t just carry on as before: she doubles up, doubles down, and absolutely goes for broke. … Success? Failure? A triumph.” —Ian Samson, THE GUARDIAN
“Sei Shonagon [and] Walt Whitman… are the intellectual company Ellmann keeps. … Ducks, Newburyport [is] as accumulative, as pointed, as death-addled, as joyous, as storied, as multitudinous and as large as life.” —Martin Riker, THE NEW YORK TIMES
“A feat of simultaneous compression and expansion... Among many other things, [Ducks, Newburyport] is a rebuke to the frequent downgrading of the 'domestic' in literature.” —Alex Clark, THE GUARDIAN
“Extraordinary... astounding... amazing... one of the outstanding books of the century, so far.” —THE IRISH TIMES
“In her latest novel, Lucy Ellmann doesn’t just carry on as before: she doubles up, doubles down, and absolutely goes for broke. … Success? Failure? A triumph.” —THE GUARDIAN
“Resplendent in ambition, humour, and humanity. … In Ducks, Newburyport, Ellmann has created a wisecracking Mrs Dalloway for the internet age.” —THE FINANCIAL TIMES
“A novel that rewards perseverance, is truly unique, and feels like an absence in your life when you finish it.” —THE OBSERVER
“Forbidding and magnificent... Ellmann has produced a domestic epic of modern American life in the Trump era.” —PROSPECT
“Astonishing. … A Molly Bloom for middle America.” —BBC FRONT ROW
“Full of wit and intelligence... and one of the most intriguing, charming and genuinely funny characters I have come across in recent years.” —THE HERALD
“Is it any good? Oh my word yes. Reading it at this point in time feels like an act of human solidarity, a commitment to a world of truth and reason.” —THE LITERARY REVIEW
“A bravura fear: a stream of consciousness, a transcript of the world under modern conditions, and (as a consequence of Ellmann’s fierce and succinct wit) very funny.” —THE SCOTTISH REVIEW OF BOOKS
“Timely, fresh… and possibly one of the most important books of the decade.” —THE LA REVIEW OF BOOKS
“An impressive feat… Ellmann’s 1024 pages put her male contemporaries in the shade.” —THE SUNDAY TIMES
“A huge achievement.” —THE TLS
“Hilarious, gigantic, jaw-breakingly delicious… Ducks, Newburyport contains multitudes. This is the book of the year and of the first couple of decades of the twenty-first century.” —BOOKMUNCH
“A masterpiece like no other.” —VOGUE