We are delighted to announce that Galley Beggar Press will be publishing Lucy Ellmann’s eighth book, Ducks, Newburyport, in the summer of 2019.
Galley Beggar co-director Eloise Millar is “over the moon” at the acquisition, saying that this novel – “so eloquent and insightful about the contemporary female experience” – promises to “revolutionise that traditionally masculine phenomenon, the Great American Novel.”
She goes on to say, “If you look at many of those lists out there – and except the inclusion perhaps of To Kill A Mockingbird and Beloved – what you’ll get in any discussion of the Great American Novel (and aside from many other issues) is an overwhelming round-up of male authors: Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, Faulkner, and more latterly Wallace, Franzen, De Lillo. “Well, in Ducks, Newburyport, Ellmann kicks that door wide open.” A 750-page novel told in a single-sentence (the inner thoughts of a middle-aged housewife from Ohio) – the book simultaneously offers a brilliant portrait of domestic life, whilst also capturing a particular, Trump-era point in American history.
Calling the novel an “exquisitely accessible modernist masterpiece”, Millar’s husband and co-director Sam Jordison says: “The first things you notice about Ducks, Newburyport are its ambition and artistry and how much has been packed into this wonderful, vibrant, bursting book. It feels like all life is there – and that it’s rendered in one beautiful, breathless, eminently readable sentence just makes it feel dizzyingly virtuoso. “As a reader, there are also other things that soon start to matter. You have to respond to the emotion and psychological insight in the novel. There’s wonderful humanity in this portrayal of a woman battling her way through the twenty-first century. It’s haunting and resonant and deeply moving. It’s also worth stressing that it’s very, very funny.”
David Godwin, Ellmann’s agent, described Ducks, Newburyport as “phenomenal”. He also said he was “thrilled” at the new partnership between Ellmann and Galley Beggar Press, “who are proving to be the publisher of radical, innovative and important books”.
Lucy Ellmann, who is the daughter of James Joyce's biographer Richard Ellmann, won the Guardian Fiction Prize for her novel Sweet Desserts. Her 2003 novel Dot In The Universe was longlisted for the Orange Book Prize.
Ellmann said: “In an age catastrophically averse to art and thought, Galley Beggar is a powerhouse of serious writing. And their books are seriously beautiful.” Galley Beggar plan to publish Ducks, Newburyport on 4 July 2019, the anniversary of American Independence Day.