Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout (Olive Kitteridge) brings us another stunning story exploring human emotions and people we come to care about. For frosting on this estimable cake it is read by actress Kimberly Farr.
Lucy Barton is no longer a resident of Amgash, Illinois. Now she is in fact a well known writer which only fuels the resentment of her jealous sister, Vicky. Strout is an expert at revealing the uncertainties hidden behind a person's bad behavior. Unfortunately there are quite a few in Amgash who may pay lip service to Lucy's success but inwardly are envious. The locals may well remember the dirt poor Barton family that were treated as pariahs and outcasts. This treatment has scarred Lucy' brother, Pete, and Vicky.
Strout expertly, beautifully explores the lives of the townsfolk in a series of vignettes. There is Tommy Guptill who showed Lucy kindness when she was but a girl. He still occasionally visits the Barton house to check on Pete who is still damaged by the past. Tommy is unaware that in all likelihood Pete's father caused the fire that ruined Tommy's dairy farm. Tommy is an almost too kind, generous man who looks upon the fire as a spiritual lesson and has lived by that belief ever since even though the blaze reduced him to being a school janitor.
There is Patty Nicely who returns kindness with cruelty. Her sister, Linda, would be generously described as nasty. As if that were not enough she is saddled with a predatory husband, Jay. These and others do their best to spread and perpetuate the word that Lucy "thinks she is better than the rest of us."
As this perspicacious author explores the lives of the citizenry we are reminded of the healing power of forgiveness, reconciliation and treated to one more unforgettable story from the remarkable Strout.
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