November 14, 2022 7:56 AM EST

Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout is known for dispensing cunning observations about humanity through her characters’ most mundane moments. In her latest novel, the author revisits her beloved character Lucy Barton, last seen in 2021’s Oh William!, as she faces the COVID-19 pandemic. This is certainly not escapist fiction: Lucy leaves New York City with William, her ex-husband, to live in Maine and hide out together as the world shuts down. But even for readers suffering from COVID-narrative fatigue, there is, miraculously, comfort in following Lucy’s journey. Through her empathetic hand, Strout reveals what was lost in this turbulent time, but also—via her discoveries about marriage, family, and love—what Lucy gained. —Annabel Gutterman

Buy Now: Lucy by the Sea on Bookshop | Amazon

More Must-Reads From TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com.

Stay True
The Book of Goose
Mouth to Mouth
Vladimir
Life Between the Tides
5 stories
EDIT POST