Lucy Ellmann’s 2019 novel Ducks, Newburyport was published in the United Kingdom. The novel is written in a narrative style similar to a stream of consciousness. It won the Goldsmiths Prize in 2019 and was nominated for the Booker Prize in 2019. But do you know what makes this novel unique?
The novel; Ducks, Newburyport is a lengthy 1000 pages long and consists of a single long sentence with clauses that frequently begin with the phrase “the fact that.”
The 1020 Page Masterpiece
Lucy Ellmann’s 1,000-page novel Ducks, Newburyport, has won the £10,000 Goldsmiths prize for fiction at its most novel and has been hailed as a masterpiece by the judges.
Most of the novel is made up of long sentences broken up into clauses and separated by commas and semi-colons. Many of these clauses begin with the phrase the fact that.
Ducks, Newburyport is a mother’s stream-of-consciousness internal monologue as she bakes pies in her kitchen in Ohio. Its ambitious form, consisting of one long run-on sentence with interludes from the perspective of a mountain lion, led to its rejection by Ellmann’s previous publisher, Bloomsbury. It was later published by the independent press Galley Beggar and was nominated for the Booker Prize for the year 2019.
That rare thing: a book which, not long after its publication, one can unhesitatingly call a masterpiece.Erica Wagner, Booker Prize Chair of Judges
The Goldsmiths Prize seeks fiction that breaks the mould or extends the possibilities of the novel form, and this year’s nominees include Mark Haddon’s The Porpoise and Deborah Levy’s The Man Who Saw Everything.
Gripping, hypnotic, remakes the novel and expands the reader’s idea of what is possible with the form.Erica Wagner, Booker Prize Chair of Judges
Ellmann told the New Statesman, which runs the prize in collaboration with Goldsmiths, that she had always wanted to write a long soft, slow book that the reader can float around in for some time, to sink or swim, engulfed in one woman’s thoughts.
You’re on your own with this book, no nursemaid. I think we’re all adults, and capable of much more adventurous reading than we’re usually offered. I sense people are hungry for something new, and sick of fiction that lazily kowtows to the reader or, God help us, the ‘market’. Anyone who thinks writing is easy really isn’t trying hard enough.Lucy Ellmann, Author of Ducks Newburyport
Who Published the Book “Ducks, Newburyport’?
After being rejected by Ellmann’s regular publisher, Bloomsbury, the novel was published by Galley Beggar Press in Norwich, England. Windsor, Canada-based publisher Biblioasis purchased the North American publishing rights. (Source: The Guardian)
Did the Book Ducks, Newburyport’ Do a Good Reception From the Critics and Readers?
The novel has received widespread critical acclaim, though it has received some criticism, particularly for the length and difficulty of its prose style.
Literary experimentation that, while surely innovative, could have made its point in a quarter the space.Katy Waldman, The New Yorker