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Lucky Us

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  191 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Once upon a very recent time in New York City, there was a couple, two ordinary single people who met the way city people meet. Even though mismatched, they fell in love. And after some hesitations they decided, finally, to marry-only to look up and find their world caving in around them. Sexy, vivacious Elisa, of the miniskirts and tiny T-shirts, still in art school and j ...more
Hardcover, 276 pages
Published October 12th 2001 by A Shannon Ravenel Book
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3.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  191 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Kathleen Maher
Feb 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers 16 an older
Recommended to Kathleen by: I've looked for everything Joan Silber writes ever since finding her novel "In the City" in a local book store many years ago.ut
Shelves: my-favorite
I've mentioned before that I generally review only books I love. As a writer, I realize not everyone appreciates every book, but every writer works so hard and getting a book published and read (!) is so difficult that I refuse to knock anyone who achieves what I've desired since I learned to read.
No spoilers here but be prepared: praise and love and more praise and more love.
Joan Silver is a fabulous writer. I have read and reread, shared, and taken repeated delight in her novels: "The Size of
Laura Leaney
May 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was difficult to rate (star-wise). I almost gave it a three because I knew I liked it, but I wasn't positive I felt strongly enough to give it a four. But the writing is deceptively good. Silber has a light touch, and I felt carried along by the smooth narratives of the two characters - the older 40ish Gabe and the much younger Elisa. Each character feels authentically depicted to me, and I was interested in both points of view, although Elisa's bad behavior drove me nuts; but, now that I'm ...more
Jun 06, 2010 rated it liked it
3.5 Liked this quite a bit, without being able to get really excited about it. The writing is good and the characters rang true, with believeable, if not always admirable, motives, actions and reactions. Enjoyable, very quick read.
Aug 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
I'll never understand why this hasn't been issued in paperback. I've read it twice and it's a beautiful, bittersweet story. More here.
Jun 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I did not, by any means, ever long to read this book. I had passed it two or three times on the shelf and was drawn to the title and cover, reveling in the fact that it promised a bittersweet love story between two individuals who were trying to last through turmoil. It was what I needed, for the moment, and it was quite worth it.

"Lucky Us" is the story of Gabe and Elisa, a couple separated by a twenty year age gap and an even larger gap in their mannerisms. Elisa is brash, selfish, immature, an
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Don't read the simpering description above. I'm glad I didn't see that until now because whoever wrote it is an idiot. The book, however, is wonderful, and I tend to hate love stories. It's short, it'll keep you up late at night to finish, it's believable. No rainbows, no knights in shining armor, no hysterics. I did not cry at the end; I said, "Wow." Read the book, and then read more by Joan Silber.
Jul 13, 2014 rated it liked it
I don't think this can be called a love story. I didn't, for even a minute, believe anyone was in love. It was more like watching the characters desperately want to think they're in love. Having said that, I did enjoy reading this book. I'm just not completely sure why! Perhaps because it read more real than fiction.
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

Boy meets girl. They go out for a drink, connect, date, move in together, plan to marry and live happily ever after. Sounds easy enough, right? It also sounds familiar, as it’s the basic meat and potatoes of most, if not all, love stories. But Lucky Us, Joan Silber’s triumphant 2001 novel, isn’t quite like most love stories. It’s far realer. And it’s why it stands out from the countless other love stories that inundate literature.

I am not saying Silber has reinvented the wheel, or in
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robert Blumenthal
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a pretty gritty book with a sometimes unbearable female narrator. There is a good deal of drug use and sex, and the female character can be very selfish and unreliable. Her chapters are alternated with those of an older male who becomes her lover who is much more staid and introverted, though he was quite the drug dealer in his younger days. Through this all, the author weaves a true to life tale of the times (beginning of the 21st century) and had me truly interested and caring about th ...more
Apr 29, 2008 rated it liked it
I'm getting kind of tired of reading three star books. For one thing, the title of this novel is terrible. The writing and characters are fairly good however -- a love story between Gabe, a forty something ex-drug dealer and Elisa who, during the course of the story, learns she has AIDS (this is not a spoiler -- you find out pretty fast). As in so many of the books I've read lately, the beginning was good, and then the end speeds up and then . . . it's over. Note to authors: learn how to end you ...more
Jan 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Lucky Us is a deceptively simple book told in two voices. The Buddhist concept that everything is already broken so we can let go of some of the striving and pretending comes through as the understated spiritual message. Joan Silber has a great ear for dialogue. I just read this book for the second time and loved it just as much as the first.
Jul 31, 2014 rated it liked it
I took this out of the library thinking it was a different book with the same title, so I was a bit confused. I liked the characters very much and enjoyed the writing. I would definitely try other books by this author. The younger woman was hard for me to identify with, but I got who she was clearly.
Jody Sperling
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
How shrewdly the details of this novel came together. Silber managed to evoke new thoughts in me, a new way of thinking. I was humbled and delighted by this book.
Sep 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Heartbreaking love story wherein Silber shows her chops.
Jan 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Joan Silber is incredible. The ending of this story is striking and beautiful. I also enjoyed the epigraph, and the way it connected with the narrative, for what it's worth.
Christy Sibila
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Silber writes with an ease and fluidity that make her stories reverberate with true to life immediacy. The double viewpoint of the characters could have been exploited a bit more for depth.
Sue Russell
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I went back to this early Joan Silber novel I hadn't read while waiting impatiently for her new story collection. It's awfully good.
Nov 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great book. Characters interesting and flawed. Does not come to a clear resolution which makes it seem like real life.
Maya Lang
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful novel, filled with insight and wit and intelligence. What really got me was the immediacy of voice. You drop right into these characters' lives the way John Cusack drops into John Malkovich's body. There's no warning or preamble. You're simply there, inside them, seeing the world through Elisa and Gabe's eyes.

It takes such mastery to do this. The writing has to erase itself. There isn't a self-conscious line, no moment where Silber calls attention what she's doing. This method has it
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I think I'm dubious whenever a jacket blurb describes a character as "sexy" and "vivacious," and this novel, told in two voices, is better than that. There is a particularity to these characters that makes them quite real. There is a glancing intimacy to these stories. You get the sense that Silber brushed against two strangers on the street and, curious, somehow intuited their histories...
Sep 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: did-not-finish
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. It is not the author's fault that her book, though well written and better than I could write, left me pulling what is left of my hair, literally out of my head. It was hard to care about any of these character challenged, living each dull day, cast of misfits. I know there are people like this who aren't goal orientated and just want to get through the day, but I don't want to read about them. And it goes without saying, I was not fond of the ending that was a forgone conclusion. I a ...more
Stephanie A.
Jul 19, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, library_book
I *loved* this book. I think I read it in grad school, but I love the way that the narratives come together and diverge and come together. And it's such an intense story about love, about how it can be intense and compassionate and hurtful and forgiving. It's reminded me of all that I don't have.
Nov 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
There wasn't much I like about this book, very depressing in my opinion. Wasn't an enjoyable read because of it gloomy overtones not showing much life in the way it was written.
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
Not a single note or highlight as these people annoyed me to the max. Secretly cheered for their demise.
rated it it was amazing
Apr 13, 2008
rated it really liked it
May 06, 2011
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Joan Silber is the author of six previous works of fiction. Among many awards and honors, she has won a PEN/Hemingway Award and has been a finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York City.
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