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So Lucky

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3.66  ·  Rating details ·  1,191 ratings  ·  281 reviews

From the author of Hild, a fierce and urgent autobiographical novel about a woman facing down a formidable foe

So Lucky is the sharp, surprising new novel by Nicola Griffith—the profoundly personal and emphatically political story of a confident woman forced to confront an unnerving new reality when in the space of a single week her wife leaves her and she is diagnosed with

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Kindle Edition, 194 pages
Published May 15th 2018 by FSG Originals
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MichaelK My UK paperback edition has 118 pages and is slightly larger than a normal paperback. It also includes an interview with the author and a bonus essay …moreMy UK paperback edition has 118 pages and is slightly larger than a normal paperback. It also includes an interview with the author and a bonus essay at the end.(less)
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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,191 ratings  ·  281 reviews


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Diane S ☔
A novel that hits very close to where I am. A book that shows how life changing the diagnosis of a terrible disease can be, affecting all parts of a life. Mara, who works for a non profit, is dignosed with
MS, after an unexplained fall. Her emotions and her life are in free fall. She is angry, bitter and not easy to be around. The treatments make her ill, and are often worse than the disease. She needs to find a new way forward. It will not be easy.

It is at times hard to like Mara, her abrasivene
...more
Edward Lorn
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been disabled since 2011. I don't talk about it often because there are artists who rely on their disabilities to sell their work. I don't want anybody's charity. I want people to buy my work because they want the work, not bragging rights because they want to support the crippled author. So instead of a bio that reads "Edward Lorn is a disabled author of blah blah blah..." I choose to let my work speak for itself. It's not something that needs to be known for you to enjoy my work, and I'd ...more
Lex Kent
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 Stars. I think Griffith is a pretty brilliant writer so when I see a new book by her I will absolutely read it. This was a tough read. It was even harder to read than I expected it to be. It is an unfiltered look into what a horrible disease MS is.

I have to admit I didn’t know much about multiple sclerosis. It wasn’t until about two years ago I read a book that had a main character with MS. Since then I have read two other books that had characters living with this disease. So Lucky was de
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This book reads so much like a memoir I had to keep reminding myself it isn't. The murder plots and shadow creatures are not real.

But everything else probably is, and based on the author's experience. Mara is working as the Executive Director for an HIV non-profit, very successful, and has just parted ways with her wife of 14 years, when she has a fall. It is revealed to be Multiple Sclerosis.

The writing is punchy and I found myself reading it cover to cover. I had always meant to go back and
...more
Sarah
Nicola Griffith is one of my favorite authors, one of the authors I'll follow into any genre or subgenre because I know I'm in good hands. This book is no exception. It's short but breathless, propulsive, structured in short sections that convince you not to put it down. This was supposed to be a writing day, but I kept sneaking one more page, two more pages, ah, why not just keep going? Griffith has written a visceral, urgent, taut narrative of a woman attacking a new diagnosis, and the things ...more
Jan
Dec 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started out actively engaged with the protagonist as she absorbs her diagnosis of MS, but her one-note response of rage and grievance wore me out, and a serial killer plot line that's introduced later in this short book lost me altogether. Griffith is a strong writer, and I appreciated the book's insights into the experience of living with MS, but I would have preferred the protagonist to have a more nuanced response and the subplot to have been better integrated and fleshed out.
CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
This was not quite what I expected. I thought it was going to be a lot more speculative than it actually was. It's mostly a realist, visceral tale of a woman's first year after being diagnosed with MS, specifically focused as a kind of character study of Mara. I loved how full of anger she was--at having MS, at the casually ableist world she abruptly collides with, at violence against people with disabilities and/or women--and how Griffith obviously wasn't concerned with making her likable. Her ...more
Agirlcandream
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fictional novel clearly written by someone with an intimate knowledge of the vagaries of Multiple Sclerosis. The spectrum of emotions play out as Mara struggles to come to terms with the rapid progress of her disease. The author points out that sense of “other” someone in a wheelchair feels, how challenging the simplest of tasks become and how demoralizing and frustrating the lack of care and options are for those afflicted with MS. She is quick to point out how big Pharma benefits and caters ...more
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
This was a very strange book with some surreal elements, some crime elements, and some moments of madness. The MC is hit with multiple major setbacks at practically the same time - her wife leaves her, she is diagnosed with MS, and loses her job. The MC is understandably very angry, and a lot of the book is devoted to how she channels that anger, not always in a good way. There are some strange supernatural elements to the story, but those may be related to the MC’s impaired mental state due to ...more
- ̗̀ DANY  ̖́- (danyreads)
. : ☾⋆ — 4 ★

arc provided from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review (thank you Farrar, Straus and Giroux!!)

this was super interesting!! it was a little crazy at times but i say that in the most tender and wholesome way you can think of. it really isn’t like anything i’ve read before!!

So Lucky follows our main character Mara, who, in the span of a week, loses her wife, her relevance in the workplace, and her physical health. we follow Mara and her slow descent into madness
...more
Peter Tillman
Nicola Griffith writes really well, and I was so pleased to see a short book on the hold shelf -- but this is an angry book. Not one to read straight through, for me anyway. Not a comfort read!

She was diagnosed with MS further back than I realized, and I assume the pain, shame and general unpleasantness of learning one has an incurable, degenerative disease is accurately portrayed. It's bad. Even worse, she was very active, very physical before she got sick. Her protagonist (alter ego?) is invit
...more
Rachel León
If you ever thought that a short novel can’t pack a powerful punch, SO LUCKY will prove you wrong. This slim novel is a rich story about a woman’s battle with her body and her mind. Nicola Griffith’s prose is beautiful and strong and she deftly weaves such a compelling tale of a woman dealing with MS and an able-ist society that ignores the needs of those with disabilities. I couldn’t put the novel down—so so good.
David
Mar 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As others have said, this is a miscellany of genres with illness memoir, social justice narrative, psychological thriller, true crime, and even the occult all jostling under the umbrella of auto fiction. The writing is excellent; the results are mixed. There was a lot I appreciated and little I loved. The book suffers most from a telescoping of the timeline which (for me) cheapened the many messages being delivered.
Det. Nidhi
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the first book I've read by this author and I am hooked...

I'm not quite sure what I was thinking when I decided to give this book a try. It was mostly the main plot which caught my eye - 'Multiple Sclerosis'. Its a diseases of your immune system where your own cells attack your neurons leading to a myriad of symptoms. It can either be chronic or a remitting relapsing type, wherein the remitting one will appear randomly throughout your life, then go into remission and then the attack may
...more
☙ nemo ❧
"It's aiming to kill you."

i was so lucky (ha!) to get accepted for this on netgalley. this was an absolutely brilliant book and now i want to recommend it to everyone, although you should note that there's content warnings for violent burglary, murder, and hate crime; they're all reported rather than shown on-page but it's something to be aware of.

at first, it seemed like a pretty straightforward book with pretty straightforward themes. our main character, mara, has just got divorced from her w
...more
Doug
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having worked in the disability community myself for a dozen years prior to retirement, this certainly rang true as an authentic story to me, and knowing the author drew upon her own experiences as a recently diagnosed person with MS proved her adherence to the PWD rallying cry of 'Nothing about us without us'. If it strayed a bit towards the clinical at times, and the thriller/murder mystery element didn't work quite as well, the story moves quickly and keeps the reader involved. It's also nice ...more
ns510
Feb 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“It’s a strange thing to feel a body you know change inside without moving, a kind of shrinking away, like the sides of a cooling cake.”
.
So I had no idea what I would be reading, having stayed away from the blurb, but the cover indicated ‘a sophisticated thriller’. I suppose you could extrapolate and say yes, it is kind of a psychological thriller in some ways, but it is mainly a story of a young and successful queer woman who loses a lot in the space of a short time - her relationship, her job,
...more
Collin
Mara is a fighter. Beaten up in a bar by two men when she was twenty-two, Mara decided then and there to never be a victim again. Never feel weak and frail at the mercy of anybody or anything. She took up martial arts and forged herself into a strong, confident, successful woman. However, all of this strength and confidence cannot help her when she is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Overnight her world is turned upside down. For me this book is all about fear. Multiple sclerosis, besides the ...more
Emily
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I had no idea what lay in my future now."

So Lucky is a unique story. I haven't read anything else in which the main character is dealing with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

This book is raw, and deals with many heavy emotions like uncertainty, rage, loneliness, etc. The main character feels what she feels, and doesn't let anyone else tell her what to do. I felt like her anger at her situation was realistic.

Some elements of this book reminded me of The Sound of Broken Ribs by Edward Lorn -
...more
Ruthiella
So glad to have finally read Nicola Griffith! So Lucky is a short but intense account of a woman’s struggle to adjust to a new normal after being diagnose with Multiple Sclerosis. At under 200 pages, this was a very quick read. The protagonist, Mara, is often very bitter and aggressive and I liked how the book challenged the reader to empathize with her despite her bitterness. I also really enjoyed the more speculative aspects of the book. MS can affect a person’s mental perceptions and it was i ...more
Alison Hardtmann
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
Mara has a great life. She's in a relationship and they live in a cute condo. Her job with a large AIDS non-profit gives her recognition and challenges and she's passionate about martial arts. Then, in a few days, it all collapses. Her partner leaves her for another woman and then she is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), an unpredictable and disabling disease, which progresses rapidly, exhausting her, rendering her unable of continuing with the physical activity she loves. She loses her jo ...more
Judy

This novel was one of the books I picked up at Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor during my vacation in Michigan. I felt so lucky to find it there because it had just been published and my library didn't have it yet.

It is the powerful story of a successful happy woman whose life turned on her in one week. Her wife of many years asks for a divorce and she is presented with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Mara, at the time, had thought she had been happily married for 14 years. She was a high le
...more
Dianah
This novel/auto-fiction didn't exactly pan out the way I'd hoped. It had a really weird secondary story, which I thought at first was so odd that it was going to be amazing, but it just wasn't. The whole book felt oddly superficial and depthless, which is the exact opposite of what I'd expected. Parts of it were really well done and it's a quick read, but overall, I wasn't thrilled. 😕
Melody
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Blisteringly good. I sat down with this and didn't move until it was finished. This book feels like it was written all in a passionate rush, and I read it the same way. It rang so true, shined light in some very dark corners of the abelist world, and made my heart sing, ultimately. Griffith continues to amaze and delight, no matter what she turns her hand to. Highly recommended.
kari
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nuanced, powerful story written in flowing prose, and while the ending was disappointingly abrupt and direct, the emotional arc of the novel was just amazing.
Melissa
Last night I sat down to start this around six and finished it before nine. I could have done without the (view spoiler) plot because given the way the book ends, I'm not sure if it was meant to be a metaphor or what - if it all really happened, the denouement was a bit too pat, and the horrors Mara faces from the people around her as a result of MS are stomach-churning enough without needing to add (view spoiler) to the mix. That said, this is a rem ...more
Bob Lopez
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Luke
Aug 23, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers
When it comes to writing what you know, I think it's important to underline how this phrase is really only half of what should be a full nugget of advice, that yes you should write what you know, but also do so in a way that is engaging and not exploitative of those experiences or the surrounding people or subjects in them. Because when you ignore the second half of that, when you just write what you know and experience with little to no care put into how that's conveyed, you wind up with someth ...more
Pam Holzner
Apr 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scribd, drama
I got excited about reading So Lucky after I finished re-reading Ammonite. I thought it was a memoir written by Griffith after her Multiple Sclerosis (MS) diagnosis and there certainly was plenty there about disability, about the treatments, about the treatment of disabled people in society.

Unfortunately it is also a suspense/horror story but reading the current news gives me a sufficient daily dose of both.

The main character is an angry person that I am sure I would not have liked before or aft
...more
Saya
Jan 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Prize Readers: 2019 TOB Longlist: So Lucky 2 14 Nov 26, 2018 09:11AM  

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Nicola Griffith has won the Washington State Book Award twice, the Nebula Award, the James Tiptree, Jr. Memorial Award, the World Fantasy Award, Premio Italia, six Lambda Literary Awards, and others. She is also the co-editor of the Bending the Landscape series of anthologies. Her newest novels are Hild and So Lucky. Her Aud Torvingen novels are soonn to be rereleased in new editions. She lives in ...more

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“A movement made a hundred times before, a thousand times before, except this time, instead of muscle and nerve performing their everyday miracle of coordination, I tilted to the right and started to fall.” 0 likes
“When you fight to be taken seriously, you don't smile in photos.” 0 likes
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