'Lucky Us': Has Amy Bloom written this summer's biggest novel?

'Lucky Us,' which was released on July 29 and follows two half-sisters in the 1940s on a journey through the US, is piling up positive reviews.

By , Staff Writer

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    'Lucky Us' is by Amy Bloom.
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The novel “Lucky Us” by Amy Bloom is shaping up to be a critical hit of the summer.

The novel by “Away” author Bloom, which was released on July 29, follows two half-sisters – Iris, who wants to be an actress, and Eva – who travel across the US during the 1940s, meeting wealthy Long Islanders, Hollywood stars, and more along the way.

It was selected as one of the 10 best books of August by Amazon. “There are a lot of interesting characters,” Amazon editorial director Sara Nelson said of the novel. “What [Bloom] is great at is the language, the idioms of the time.” 

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“Lucky US” also earned a place on the Indie Next list for August, with Carol Schneck Varner of Schuler Books & Music writing, “Vivid and satisfying…. Bloom gives us lively, unforgettable characters who are so warm, human, and irrepressible that they transcend even the darkest events of their lives. I loved this novel!” 

Other positive reviews have included one by New York Times critic Janet Maslin, who noted that the opening lines of the book (“My father’s wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us.”) are “destined to be quoted in many a classroom for their perfection.” 

“[Bloom] writes sharp, sparsely beautiful scenes that excitingly defy expectation, and part of the pleasure of reading her is simply keeping up with her,” she wrote. 

Meanwhile, Washington Post critic Marie Arana wrote that “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…. Amy Bloom … wins you from the first with her narrative confidence. There are few American novelists writing today who can spin a yarn as winningly.” 

And USA Today critic Kevin Nance called it “funny, slight, delightfully blithe… .Lucky Us feels as if it were written as an extended improvisation, without much worry about how the pieces fit together…., Even more than that, Lucky Us is about Bloom's uncanny ability to conjure the tone of the war years…. Lucky Us remains a tasty summer read that will leave you smiling.”

However, Los Angeles Times writer David L. Ulin was less won over, writing that “Lucky Us” “unfolds with a distressing lack of friction, leaving us with little about which to care…. Bloom's tone throughout the book … is oddly flat and on-the-surface…. We don't believe [the book], not enough.”

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