There is not a scintilla of sentimentality in this exquisite novel. Instead, in its careful words and vibrating silences, My Name Is Lucy Barton offers us a rare wealth of emotion, from darkest suffering to simple joy.
It is both a book of withholdings and a book of great openness and wisdom. It starts with the clean, solid structure and narrative distance of a fairy tale yet becomes more intimate and improvisational ... Strout is playing with form here, with ways to get at a story, yet nothing is tentative or haphazard. She is in supreme and magnificent command of this novel at all times.
...part of the deep melancholy of this novel grows from Lucy’s gradual discovery of the inadequacies of therapeutic art. Writing, she learns, is tantamount to a declaration of solitude, and writing honestly means living close to your hurts and longings.