Reviews

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann

suvata's review against another edition

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3.0

• Reading Envy Podcast Readalong for June 2020

Reading this book was like being the head of a neurotic for 1,000 pages. This never-ceasing stream of consciousness actually made me anxious at times (bring on the Xanax). Yet, there was something compelling about the writing that made me want to keep reading. I do a lot of practice to control my “monkey mind“. This book was 30+ hours“ of pure, unadulterated “monkey mind”. A veritable encyclopedia of the first part of the 21st Century in America — Very unique and hard to rate.

jmcook's review against another edition

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challenging funny sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

chelsea21's review

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emotional reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

grayjay's review

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4.0

Ducks, Newburyport is an experimental novel taking the form of mostly one, long, list sentence, many beginning with the phrase “that fact that”. Ellman's style approximates the stream-of-consciousness of an unnamed woman living in Ohio as she goes about her day. Through the references she makes, the word plays and associations, the open carry guys, the school shootings, Julie & Julia, hating the Aurora Borealis, Uranus' ocean of diamonds, the Wetsueten, fake news, and old movies, the reader is able to build a picture of this woman, and by extension, the cultural moment she lives in.

It is the kind of novel that walks a very fine line between tediousness and masterpiece. I enjoyed the challenge, but I found it difficult to take in more than twenty-page chunks. Perhaps it is just a tedious masterpiece. It maybe depends on the reader. At over 1000 pages of one sentence, it takes devotion to get through.

There is a pay off however—all though it doesn't seem like it at first, there is a plot evolving slowly through the glimpses of this woman's day, it it builds satisfyingly to a climax and resolution.

lightfoxing's review against another edition

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challenging reflective slow-paced

3.75

amydotreads's review against another edition

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challenging dark reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

finalgirlfall's review

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4.0

took me a million years but i'm done. award bait for sure but some parts were good.

lsparrow's review against another edition

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1.0

this shelf is one of the smallest - I hardly ever give up on a book. I could not handle the stream of words that feel more whiney than insightful. I cannot believe how long it is - I hope she was paid by the word but that is the only possible justification for the length.

abbie_bryant's review against another edition

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slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

Sometimes I felt like the narrator and I were kindred spirits and I liked the steady progression of the story. However, this book absolutely did not need to be 1000 pages and was around 300 too long. 

evetoi's review

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reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0