Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann

I really had to put in a lot of effort to finish Ducks, Newburyport.

At 1000 pages, it’s four times the length of your average novel, yet made up only of a single sentence. The sentence represents the stream of consciousness of a middle-aged American housewife, with thoughts wandering from school shootings to her pie business, from her lost parents to David Attenborough, from cancer to elephants… Many of these thoughts begin with “the fact that” and continue to be revisited throughout. There is no clear narrative except for a seemingly disconnected one of a lioness searching for her cubs.

I’m aware the book has been hailed a modern classic and is beloved by many, but I, unfortunately, don’t “get it”. There is obviously some cultural awareness I’m missing or perhaps the appeal was lost due to the fact I found the repetition grating. It’s certainly an innovative book and there were some sections that spoke to me, but I didn’t find this an enjoyable or particularly thought-provoking read on the whole.

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