LUCY Gets Mixed Reaction

One of the summer’s much-anticipated thrillers, Lucy by Laurence Gonzales, arrives to discordant fanfare. But whatever the final critical consensus may be, the tale of a girl who’s half human and half bonobo chimpanzee is bound to get more media coverage.

Entertainment Weekly gives it an “A,” comparing Gonzales to a cross between Michael Crichton and Cormac McCarthy:

He’s got Crichton’s gift for page-
turning storytelling, but also a vivid, literary-grade prose style, and a knack for getting inside his characters’ heads.”

But New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani hates it:

Gonzales doesn’t manage to lend Lucy’s back story even the veneer of plausibility. . .  The reader often has the sense that Mr. Gonzales is impatiently ticking off plot points on an outline, as if he were writing a movie treatment, not a novel.

On NPR, critic Alan Cheuse takes the the middle ground in making it a summer pick:

The science in Gonzales’ novel is fascinating, the politics perhaps just a bit exaggerated, but hey, that’s entertainment.

Laurence Gonzales
Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2010-07-13)
ISBN-10: 0307272605
ISBN-13: 9780307272607

Other Notable Fiction Titles On Sale Next Week

Savages by Don Winslow (Simon & Schuster), a tale of the marijuana trade on the Mexican border, gets a rave review from Janet Maslin in the New York Times, who declares that “it will jolt Mr. Winslow into a different league….Its wisecracks are so sharp, its characters so mega-cool and its storytelling so ferocious that the risks pay off, thanks especially to Mr. Winslow’s no-prisoners sense of humor.” The novel is also a July Indie Next Pick and an ALA Shout and Share pick.

Faithful Place by Tana French (Viking) is the story of an Irish cop on the trail his childhood sweetheart’s murderer. It’s also the #1 Indie Bookseller Pick for July. In Salon, critic Laura Miller says the novel is “wrenching to a degree that detective fiction rarely achieves: Frank — a cocky devil who prides himself on his skillful lying and ability to play other people — gets pulled apart psychologically as he pursues Rosie’s killer.”

Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman (Doubleday)  is an Entertainment Weekly pick for summer. PW calls it  “a dense story of irreparable loss that tracks two families across four summers…. Though Waldman is often guilty of overwriting here, the narrative is well crafted, and each of the characters comes fully to life.”

Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner (Atria) follows the wife and two daughters of a senator caught having an affair. It was a USA Today Summer Books pick, but PW pans it: “The lack of conflict and strong characters, and the heavy dose of brand names and ripped-from-the-headlines references, make this disappointingly disposable.”

Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon), a new series by the prolific author, gets a starred review from Booklist: “Readers of McCall Smiths 44 Scotland Street novels will savor this new series set among a collection of flats in Londons lively Pimlico neighborhood.”

The Glass Rainbow by James Lee Burke (Simon & Schuster), the 18th Dave Robicheaux novel, also gets a starred Booklist review: “superb suspense leading to a gripping, set-piece finale that is a masterpiece of texture and mood… Not to be missed by any follower of the landmark series.”

Live to Tell by Lisa Gardner (Bantam) investigates the murder of a family with Boston detective D.D. Warren. Booklist again hands out a starred revew: “Gardner never sensationalizes her story, and the book ends with a resolution that is creatively and emotionally appropriate. An excellent novel.”

Damaged: A Maggie O’Dell Mystery by Alex Kava (Doubleday) is “exciting if grisly . . . Maggie must venture into the eye of Hurricane Isaac as this intense thriller builds to an eye-popping revelation that will leave fans eager for the sequel,” says PW. Libraries we checked are well ahead of demand for this title, which was featured at Random House’s Librarian Author Breakfast at BEA.

One Response to “LUCY Gets Mixed Reaction”

  1. Ashley Says:

    “Lucy” seems to be a lot like a book that was published in 1989 called “Eva” by Peter Dickinson. “Eva” is about a young girl who was in a tragic accident, but thanks to scientific advancements, her brain was able to be transferred from her damaged body into the body of a chimpanzee.