Author Topic: Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann  (Read 3339 times)

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
« on: January 18, 2020, 12:49:11 AM »
The best book I read all last year was Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann. It's fucking huge, but totally worthwhile. One of those books that really feels like it may define our time for future generations.

I'm interested in reading that one...

So am I. Is it really tough going? I read Solar Bones which was (kind of) one single sentence and struggled, partly due to the lack of anywhere to take a pause, and that was only a couple of hundred pages. I read that Ducks... was so big that they have to have it printed on special paper and lugging it around all day (I do most of my reading on the commute to and from work) seems like it could be a bit of a fucker.

Lisa Jesusandmarychain

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Re: Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2020, 09:17:12 AM »
Sort of tempted by that book. Got me thinking that I should give  re-read of " The Mezzanine" by Nicholson Baker, that book about a feller who buys himself a new pair of shoelaces. Good little book that, been 30 years since I read the fecker.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2020, 09:29:34 AM by Lisa Jesusandmarychain »

BlodwynPig

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Re: Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2020, 09:27:10 AM »
None the wiser

buttgammon

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Re: Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2020, 09:50:32 AM »
It is tough going, if only for the sheer length, but there's a real pace and flow to the writing that helps push things along. For what it's worth, a lot of critics seem to have got hung up on the one-sentence thing, but it is actually subdivided into (admittedly, quite long and breathless) chapters. I'm one of those people who has to stop reading at the end of a chapter, and it assuaged my fears about not being able to feed my compulsion. My biggest concern would be for your back, because both me and my girlfriend genuinely strained muscles from lugging it around. I read it over the summer and still get the odd twinge in my shoulder.

Ellmann is going to be at a conference I'll be attending in the summer, so if anyone has any questions I'll try and meet her.

Captain Crunch

  • Twister, Dustbuster, Hospital Bed
Re: Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2020, 12:19:11 PM »
I found this in Oxfam just before the shutdown and I’m about a third of the way through it now.  The style is quite nice after a while, almost like a life story through osmosis and very funny in places.  Slightly resigned to the fact that nothing’s going to happen but I’m happy with that.   

Captain Crunch

  • Twister, Dustbuster, Hospital Bed
Re: Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2020, 11:47:21 AM »
Finished this morning.

If you don’t like the first five pages you’re not going to enjoy the next 995 so it’s worth giving it a try and putting it back if you’re not struck. 

I liked the style and you can puff yourself up by recognising all the quotes, everyone enjoys this I’m sure.  You’d get lots of bonus points of you like old films as well as American poetry. 

On the downside it feels like all the big events in the book are squashed up into the last fifth and – weirdly for such a long book – feel rushed.  Similarly the two threads of the book don’t seem to blend well, I’m not even sure they need to link up to be effective. 

I tried to describe this book at book club and one of the group said “I wouldn’t want to read it but I’m glad it exists”. 

7 out of 10. 

thenoise

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Re: Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2020, 09:09:36 PM »
Yes I'm not sure what I was expecting but maybe for it all to tie neatly together at the end somehow. I'm not sure there was any chance of that, and I'm probably missing the point by suggesting it. I don't feel it quite justified its length, or 'experimental' structure, other than the fact that the experience of reading it was similar to having anxiety.

I really enjoyed it though. I'm a slow and easily distracted reader but found this absolutely gripping.

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