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Lucky Us: A Novelby Joan Silber
"Silber manages several difficult tricks in this book: she convincingly alternates narrative voices; she deftly avoids easy sentimentality, preferring to let the reader respond to a scene rather than wring tears with manipulative writing; and best of all, she tells a simple story very well. These are more difficult to pull off than they may seem." Chris Bolton, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
Once upon a very recent time in New York City, there was a couple, two ordinary single people who met the way city people meet. Even though mismatched, they fell in love. And after some hesitations they decided, finally, to marry — only to look up and find their world caving in around them.
Sexy, vivacious Elisa, of the miniskirts and tiny T-shirts, still in art school and just coming off an affair with a temper-driven fellow artist, initiated things. She came on to cool, quiet Gabe who wore his hair in a graying ponytail and kept a low profile. A good bit older than Elisa — more than twenty years older, in fact — he found himself buoyed by her youth and her brashness. To her great surprise, Elisa craved Gabe's watchfulness and solicitude.
That Gabe's past included a successful drug dealing business bothered her not at all. And certainly he was unconcerned that Elisa's more current past included a lot of casual sex. Neither of them ever expected to have to answer for what had been so easy for Gabe and so enjoyable for Elisa. But truth be known, the one obvious thing they had in common was the burden their pasts suddenly put onto their future.
Joan Silber has written a love story for the turn of the twenty-first century, one that takes into rich account the styles and pressures of contemporary urban life. But more than that, she has created two characters who throb with real-life personality, passion, and courage.
"The sex, drugs and older man/younger woman angle are familiar themes, but Silber's tender tale of how Elisa and Gabe develop a loving, mature relationship is delivered with clear-eyed candor and not a whit of sentimentality." Publishers Weekly
"Refreshingly unsentimental: Silber writes with a modest intimacy that brings her characters to heartbreaking clarity even as she remains true to the ambiguities that plague every life — and love." Kirkus Reviews
"Gabe is nearly too good to be tolerated, and Elisa is nearly too silly to survive, but they sort things out and ultimately make an unlikely but irresistible couple, thanks to Silber's deft writing and deep affection for her characters. A timely and wonderful tale." Booklist
"What keeps this novel from being either too sad or too maudlin is the edgy cast of the characters and their well-presented perspectives....This was such a good story that I missed it when I finished reading. Recommended." Library Journal
"This taut, beautifully written, deeply felt love story reminded me all over again what a great consolation a good book can be....The story is that simple and somehow — amazingly! — funny and charming and full of life." Andrea Barrett, Entertainment Weekly
"Lucky Us is a beautiful novel. Elisa and Gabe's story is charged with desperation, tenderness, and compassion. It's a love story of our time, peopled with lively characters and packed with marvelous details." Ha Jin, National Book Award-winning author of Waiting
Early praise for Lucky Us
Joan Silber has written a novel both contemporary and timeless about love, its unexpected possibilities and limitations, and about the role of fate in all our lives. Her richly imagined characters and lovely prose make every page of this book a pleasure. (Margot Livesey, author of Criminals)
Lucky Us is a beautiful novel. Elisa and Gabe's story is charged with desperation, tenderness, and compassion. It's a love story of our time, peopled with lively characters and packed with marvelous details. (HA JIN, author of Waiting)
Praise for Joan Silber's previous fiction
Joan Silber writes with wisdom, humor, grace, and wry intelligence.Her characters who lived one life when they were young emerge, after metamorphoses almost Ovidian, bewildered and grateful in another. They bear with them welcome news of how we all survive. (Andrea Barrett)
Silber's prose is a marvel of compression, precision, and tact. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
Silber} payss tribute to ordinary urban heroes - people who have lived long enough to know that when misfortune shows up, there's no need to make a fuss. She treats dysfunction a bit more gently than Lorrie Moore, with whom she shares a marvelous, perspicacious wit. (The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Joan Silber won the PEN/Hemingway Award for her first novel, Household Words. Her short fiction has appeared in the New Yorker, Ploughshares, the Paris Review, and many other magazines. She lives in New York City and teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence College and in the Warren Wilson College MFA program.
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