A monumental work

With Lionesses, the British-American novelist Lucy Ellmann signs one of the most surprising books of the new school year.

In recent years, several cobblestones have gained media attention. The goldfinch by Donna Tartt, for example. Or City on fire by Garth Risk Hallberg, Lighting by Eleanor Catton, 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster and 22/11/63 by Stephen King.

But in a few days, we’ll also start talking a lot about Lionesses, by Lucy Ellmann. Another pavement, which this time has more than 1100 pages. And that takes place entirely in the mind of a stay-at-home mother in Ohio spending most of her time looking after the children – she has four -, cooking and keeping the house. In short, an all the more ordinary woman, whose thoughts will follow one another in a single sentence. That’s it, not the slightest point anywhere. Only commas and the phrase “the fact that”, which comes up everywhere and all the time like a mantra: “… the fact that words pop up in my head like that all the time, and damn, the fact that I I have to make the dough for the cinnamon rolls, the fact that … ”Yes, a long tirade of several tens of thousands of lines which is likely to destabilize more than one reader!

“It took years to texturize, nuance and structure the flow of consciousness of this woman,” says Lucy Ellmann, who responded by email. I never stopped enriching it. I also updated it (I started this novel before Trump’s presidency started, and that too had to be incorporated). I added 30,000 more words to the final version. My editors forgave me. Among friends, what are a few thousand words? “

Rabies, a powerful fuel

At the origin of this monumental work, however, there were only two words: rage. “Much of that which feeds Lionesses comes from loathing and sorrow for my homeland, explains Lucy Ellmann. America is now a pariah nation with a totally negative global impact. I am disturbed by the apparent passivity of its citizens. They seem to suffer from some sort of moral paralysis, starvation, presumably caused by drugs, junk food, television, click traps, poor education, cultural poverty, politician lies, chronic anxiety and obscene self-absorption. Not to mention pollution (air, soil, water, food, clothing), which can now wreak havoc on mental functions. In a way, this book is a farewell to America. ”

“I also wanted to write about consciousness, both human and animal,” continues Lucy Ellmann. What goes on in the minds of others is the very essence of fiction. It’s fascinating, but impossible to guess – it’s hard enough to figure out what’s going on in our own head. Lionesses is an approximation of what it might be. “

What will be, will be

From money problems to the cancer she’s battled, to homework to correct, her eldest daughter’s mood swings, the raccoons that prey on garbage, her fear of guns, characters from The Little House On The Prairie, the weather or the words she cannot stand, the narrator chains her thoughts at breakneck speed and ends up chaining us to our seat.

“For me, the biggest challenge was to keep it all in mind,” says Lucy Ellmann. This is the case with any novel, but this one is particularly large, tangled and complex. For the past few years, its editorial staff have called for twelve hour days, and I was physically and mentally exhausted when I finished it. At that point, after seven years of working in my “dungeon,” I finally showed it to my husband, Todd McEwen, who is not only a great writer, but a great publisher. I knew I had taken a risk with this book and was worried that a lot of people might not like it. I wasn’t at all sure what it would be like to read this story. So Todd’s enthusiasm was a huge boost. Since then, I have been fascinated by the reaction of readers. I was also delighted to hear that Claro wanted to translate it into French. What an honor! “


About Victoria Smith

Victoria Smith who hails from Toronto, Canada currently runs this news portofolio who completed Masters in Political science from University of Toronto. She started her career with BBC then relocated to TorontoStar as senior political reporter. She is caring and hardworking.

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