“In 2019’s most ambitious novel, Lucy Ellmann puts us in the mind of one of literature’s most overlooked characters: an average woman and mother doing her best in a world that respects neither women nor mothers. Rambunctiously political, tenderly personal, and profoundly humanist, Ellmann’s simple respect for her protagonist’s thoughts, feelings, faults, and successes is revolutionary. And on top of everything else in this towering achievement of a novel, you’ll find yourself desperately rooting for a mountain lion.”
— Josh Cook, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA
“The fact that Ducks, Newburyport is over 700 pages, nearly all of which is a single sentence, should not daunt the reader. The book is an unputdownable rant by an anonymous homemaker and pie baker in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. Our narrator streams a running commentary on small-town life, marriage and remarriage, gun violence, the rise of hate in Trump’s America, and her analysis of Little House on the Prairie. It all ratchets up to a startling climax that rewards the reader for their persistence.”
— Grace Harper, Mac's Backs, Cleveland Heights, OH
Baking a multitude of tartes tatins for local restaurants, an Ohio housewife contemplates her four kids, husband, cats and chickens. Also, America's ignoble past, and her own regrets. She is surrounded by dead lakes, fake facts, Open Carry maniacs, and oodles of online advice about survivalism, veil toss duties, and how to be more like Jane Fonda. But what do you do when you keep stepping on your son's toy tractors, your life depends on stolen land and broken treaties, and nobody helps you when you get a flat tire on the interstate, not even the Abominable Snowman? When are you allowed to start swearing?
With a torrent of consciousness and an intoxicating coziness, Ducks, Newburyport lays out a whole world for you to tramp around in, by turns frightening and funny. A heart-rending indictment of America's barbarity, and a lament for the way we are blundering into environmental disaster, this book is both heresy--and a revolution in the novel.