Synopses & Reviews
“My father’s wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us.”
So begins this remarkable novel by Amy Bloom, whose critically acclaimed Away was called “a literary triumph” (The New York Times). Lucky Us is a brilliantly written, deeply moving, fantastically funny novel of love, heartbreak, and luck.
Disappointed by their families, Iris, the hopeful star and Eva the sidekick, journey through 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris’s ambitions take the pair across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, and to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island.
With their friends in high and low places, Iris and Eva stumble and shine though a landscape of big dreams, scandals, betrayals, and war. Filled with gorgeous writing, memorable characters, and surprising events, Lucky Us is a thrilling and resonant novel about success and failure, good luck and bad, the creation of a family, and the pleasures and inevitable perils of family life, conventional and otherwise. From Brooklyn’s beauty parlors to London’s West End, a group of unforgettable people love, lie, cheat and survive in this story of our fragile, absurd, heroic species.
"Two teenaged half-sisters make their way through WWII-era America in Bloom's imaginative romp. After being left on her father's Ohio doorstep by her absconding mother, 11-year-old Eva meets Iris, the older half-sister she never knew she had. They escape to Hollywood, where Iris hopes to become a movie star. But they wind up on Long Island, where the girls and their father, Edgar, find employment in the home of the nouveau riche Torelli family. Over the course of the story, Edgar develops a relationship with a black jazz singer named Clara Williams, Iris falls in love with the Torellis' cook, Reenie Heitmann, and Eva learns to read the tarot and sets herself up as a psychic. Joining the lively cast is Francisco Diego, a Hollywood makeup artist; Gus, Reenie's German husband, who is deported; and Danny, an orphan who is ultimately raised by Eva. On the way to a gloriously satisfying ending, these characters are separated by fate and distance, but form a vividly rendered patchwork American family (straight, gay, white, black, citizen, immigrant). Bloom (Away) transforms history to create a story of stunning invention, with characters that readers will feel lucky to encounter." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“Lucky Us indeed — another Amy Bloom book. And, if it’s possible, even more powerful and affecting than her last novel, Away. This is a poignant book that manages to be funny, an unflinching portrait that manages to be tender, a tough story that manages to also have jazz and grace. Bloom is a great writer who keeps stepping into new territory, entirely unafraid. She is one of America’s unique and most gifted literary voices.” Colum McCann
“Lucky Us is a remarkable accomplishment. One waits a long time for a novel of this scope and dimension, replete with surgically drawn characters, a mix of comedy and tragedy that borders on the miraculous, and sentences that should be in a sentence museum. Amy Bloom is a treasure.” Michael Cunningham
"These two things about Amy Bloom's surprise-filled Lucky Us are indisputable: It opens with a terrific hook and closes with an image of exquisite resolution....She writes sharp, sparsely beautiful scenes that excitingly defy expectation, and part of the pleasure of reading her is simply keeping up with her. You won't know where Lucky Us is headed until, suddenly, it's there." Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"A fireworks display of delightful, if sometimes confounding, surprises...wildly twisting...spryly spontaneous." The Wall Street Journal
"[A] kaleidoscopic take on life in the tumultuous '40s....In an exquisitely imagined novel, Amy Bloom wows....Lucky Us is a tale of a family weathering tragedies intimate and global." O: The Oprah Magazine
"Bighearted, rambunctious...a bustling tale of American reinvention...[a] high-octane tale of two half-sisters who take it upon themselves to reverse their sorry, motherless fortunes....If America has a Victor Hugo, it is Amy Bloom, whose picaresque novels roam the world, plumb the human heart and send characters into wild roulettes of kismet and calamity....Love will fizz and fizzle, outrageous lies will be told, orphans will find happiness and heartbreak, and fate will sweep in to drive characters into hellish corners of the world....There are few American novelists writing today who can spin a yarn as winningly....Welcome to America, dear reader. Lucky us." The Washington Post
"A multilayered, historical tale about different kinds of love and family. Bloom enlivens her story with understated humor as well as offbeat and unforgettable characters....A hard-luck coming-of-age story with heart." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Unrepentantly quirky, a madcap romp complete with road trips, secret identities, aspiring Hollywood starlets, and a tarot card-reading fake psychic....At its core, this is a novel of resilience, with the war serving as both a life-changing event and no more than the background noise of an impoverished existence. Full of intriguing characters and lots of surprises...readers of literary fiction and twentieth-century historicals, as well as fans of wacky humor, will find it an excellent choice." Library Journal (starred review)
About the Author
Amy Bloom is the author of Come to Me, a National Book Award finalist; A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You, nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Love Invents Us; Normal; Away, a New York Times bestseller; and Where the God of Love Hangs Out. Her stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Short Stories, The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction, and many other anthologies here and abroad. She has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Vogue, Slate, and Salon, among other publications, and has won a National Magazine Award. She teaches creative writing at Wesleyan University.