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We Wish You Luck

3.22  ·  Rating details ·  1,208 ratings  ·  238 reviews
An exhilarating novel about a group of students who take revenge on a wunderkind professor after she destroys one of their own—a story of collective drive to create, sabotage, and ultimately, to love.

It doesn't take long for the students on Fielding campus to become obsessed with Hannah, Leslie and Jimmy. The three graduate students are mysterious, inaccessible, and br
Hardcover, 310 pages
Published January 14th 2020 by Riverhead Books
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Average rating 3.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,208 ratings  ·  238 reviews

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Kathryn in FL

I had great enthusiasm when I won this book. I want to thank the author, Riverhead Books and Goodreads for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I can see why some readers love this book, so, I may be an outlier. I really struggled to read this, putting it aside at 40 pages after multiple attempts to read it. I picked it up a few weeks later and read to page 81 and chose to abandon it.

I have been in a few writing groups and found one
lucky little cat
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: those rare few who still miss being in grad school :D
A tell-all that only tells some is doomed from the start.

It was a clear and uneventful night

This overly dignified account of minor scandal in a tony Vermont-based MFA program should have been edited down to a short story. As it is, the narrative drags woefully, and the author is reduced to portentously reminding readers that a Big Bad Thing really will happen by and by. It's a helluva weak way to power a story arc.

Part of this pacing problem is the crowd of minor characters who overwhelm the s
Dec 25, 2019 rated it liked it
At first, I was enamored with the writing style and excited for a story that would immediately grip me. From the first few pages, I thought I had found a book that would make me finish it in a few nights. But that promise didn't fulfill itself.

While the writing is quite beautiful, with surprising word choices and moments of grace, it does get a bit tiring. The story is told by a collective "we" made up of MFA writing students, and after awhile it seems as if the writing style is just their over
Suzanne thebookblondie
We Wish You Luck by Caroline Zancan (#112 in 2019)⁣

Thank you to Riverhead Books for my gifted copy. Check this one out 1/14/2020!

The first thing that makes this book unique is the narrator's perspective... or should I say narrators' perspective. It's told from the point of view of a GROUP of MFA students at a fictional college called Fielding. The group-narrator, a limited omniscient narrator, tells the story of Hannah, Leslie, and Jimmy, three of the MFA students who have very distinct person
Loretta Gaffney
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
I need to stop falling for the "this is like the Secret History" bait. ...more
Jan 30, 2020 added it
DNF at 80%

I was excited by the comparison to The Secret History, but sadly this never managed to pull me.

There were a lot of clever turns of phrase and acute observations about writers/writing, but I just couldn't muster any sympathy for the characters and the plot felt too thin to hold my interest to the very end. Ah well.
Sarah at Sarah's Bookshelves
Thanks to Riverhead Books for an advanced copy of this book.

This novel took me completely by surprise! I knew nothing about the author going into it, but I picked it up because I love campus novels and Susie at Novel Visits liked it. The writing is out of this world…Zancan’s commentary on the social hierarchy of the MFA students is perfection and her introductions of each new player in the story make you feel like you know the depths of their psyches from just a few paragraphs. The story is told
The Artisan Geek
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
----------------AUTHOR INTERVIEW----------------

I had the amazing chance to talk to the author as well, if you're interested you can check out the link! :)

This was so ridiculously good, like what even?!

I honestly thoroughly enjoyed this book!! Full review to come :)

Yeeey thank you Riverhead Books for gifting me a copy of this book!! :D I just starting reading it and I've been enjoying getting to know the characters, gaah - my first campus novel!!

You can find me on
Youtube |
Jamie Prawdzik
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
Uggg, dnf. I REALLY wanted to like this. The writing was good but it was just so damn boring.
Dec 20, 2019 added it
Shelves: read-in-2019
Told through a collective voice, this is a slow-burn story that is a telling of a story of revenge. It's the first residency for a class of MFA writing students at a small college in Vermont (think: Bennington). Everyone is feeling one another out, making choices about who they'd be connecting with over the course of these residencies. But there's one new teacher, an ingenue, who immediately commands everyone's attention.

As the story goes, Simone -- this new teacher -- tore apart one of the new
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
I listened to the audiobook, and the entire thing felt like someone was telling me a story and barely taking a breath between sentences. I just wanted to tell the narrator to shut up (it’s the material, not the narrator herself). When I initially read the description I was kind of psyched because I like these sorts of books, but this one just didn’t grab or hold me beyond my being mildly curious what actually happened at the end. Unfortunately, the end didn’t merit me slogging through the rest.
Dec 14, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the idea of We Wish You Luck, but I feel like the main characters never developed to the full potential. Zancan's writing is very endearing though, which is the only reason I was able to finish it in one day. The plot was flowing and enthralling, and a adroitly written intellectual exploration, but the characters were to dry for me. ...more
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
WE WISH YOU LUCK is unlike anything I have ever read. Written from the point of view of a collective group of students in an MFA program, the novel is stirring, enveloping, and breathtaking. Zancan's way with words is so special, and her writing about writers (and what they might write about) is both funny and awe inspiring. In the book, the class the story focuses on writes about an incident that shapes their time at the fictional college. Two students band together to take down a professor who ...more
Chelsea | thrillerbookbabe
This book first caught my attention because it is written from the point of view of a group of students. I thought that was such an interesting idea and I was right! I loved the idea that there were so many narrators, and because I work at a college, I loved that it was the setting here. The book is about three MFA students who are each unique in their own way. They all want to become a famous writer and everything is fine until an author, Simone, comes to Fielding.

When Simone destroys a student
Beth M.
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I picked this one up (look at me using my local public library!) after hearing @theartisangeek rave about it and watching her fantastic interview with author Caroline Zancan over on YouTube. Then Belletrist announced it as their February pick. You can’t go wrong with any of these recommendations!

We Wish You Luck follows a cohort of MFA students over three sessions of their low-residency program. Each June and January they meet face-to-face on campus for an intensive period of workshopping and le
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
Trite junk. Just because you invoke David Foster Wallace's name over and over again doesn't mean it provides some kind of transitory property to your junk. This is about an MFA program but the writer doesn't seem to get her novel is the worse example of the kind of junk it pumps out. This plot is stupid and moreover it's told in this framework where she's trying to build it up but I can't manage to care. This is a writer that tries to explain how you should feel, explain the plot, explain the ty ...more
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

This is the first book I have truly loved in a long time, and my favorite and many years.

It was a reminder that reading is not just a race to the finish, and was one of those rare times where I wanted to revel in the story AND the things it is saying AND the way it is saying them.

This book feels both like a montage of everything else I’ve ever loved, and like its own singular entity. I guess I was truly its target audience, since I write, I went to Bennington every fall as a child, and I throw
Tracy Manaster
Jan 23, 2020 rated it liked it
So. There are few things I adore more than Narratives of Vengeance. There are few things that bore me more thoroughly than Books about Writers and Writing, which (to my taste) so often struggle to rise above self indulgence. The early reviews and deliciously bonkers premise here led me to hope that the former would outweigh the latter.

It didn’t. And I’m sad.

Despite the moody brilliance on the line level (rarely has an author so effectively captured the zing of reading something that moves you an
Sep 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dark-academia
I'd say this is a solid, relatively unique, and altogether intriguing dark academia / campus novel. On a campus inspired by Bennington College called Fielding, a group of MFA students tell the story of the program's closest friends: Leslie, Hannah, and Jimmy. Without giving too much away (because the twists are surprising and really excellent to experience) the program's collective voice (using "we" throughout the novel, all told in retrospect) the novel tackles themes of revenge, justice, retri ...more
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Trying to decide between 3 and 4 stars... I know I liked this book, and I think maybe I loved it. It was a VERY slow burn for me - I kept reading wondering when I was going to understand what was going on. But the thing is, I think that was the point. I liked what the author was going for: how we treat each other reverberates in ways we never imagined. I also loved the conversation and sentences throughout the book dedicated to the power of the written word. Different, but I liked it?
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m probably going to bump this down to a four stars when I have distance and a good night’s sleep to make me think straight again, but it almost brought me to tears in the final chapter/epilogue, so I think it deserves some high ratings, at least for a day.
Sumant Salunke
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
I love campus novels almost as much as I love revenge narratives. I went into this with considerable excitement and anticipation, only to find something so laughably prosaic that the only reason this isn’t a 1-star review is the very obvious toil the author took in trying to write something great, which is endearing, when not completely transparent.

I got the feeling while reading this novel (I call it that loosely, I wonder if ‘MFA advert’ would be a more apt terminology?) that Caroline Zancan
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“I have no patience for people who speak of ennui - my experience was always wonder.”

This twisty, ethereal book just blew up my world. It’s somehow both a treatise on how the way we treat each other matters and also a sharp, literary mystery full of zing and perfect light. It’s narrated by a Greek chorus of MFA students that provide the perfect buzz to the background of the dark, redemptive story. I do not even have the words to tell you how fantastic this book is, so I just want you to read it
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
Meh. Started out intrigued, fizzled about half way through. I listened to the audiobook and there were so many names of students, it was impossible to remember them all. I didn’t feel anything for the characters who ended up being important. Wasn’t for me!
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
When a blurb on the back of this book claimed it "had a touch of The Secret History" to it, Zancan sort of had me at hello. It was a little meta--a recent MFA graduate writing a story about a group of MFA students, going through a program that I can only assume was similar to Zancan's own--but I didn't mind at all. I love that academia setting, and writers, and writing, that whole process. The book sort of let me experience that vicariously through them.

I don't want to spoil either book, but We
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book. The story was interesting enough. How the story was being told was unique. But the length at which things were described lost the point. There were easily chunks I could have skipped that had absolutely no bearing on the plot or even creating a world that mattered. Even understand that the narrators of this book were all people who received their MFA still couldn’t justify the word play for me.

I get it. I get what she was doing and I get what she was going for. It ju
Brenna Rehan
Feb 27, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you to Riverhead Publishing and NetGalley for my ARC!

As many others have mentioned, this novel was very well-written. But, in many ways, it fell short of my expectations.

Generally speaking, this book has A LOT of background information about MFA courses and the desire to write well. I can see how some people, especially MFA graduates, may find this nostalgic or interesting, but I, frankly, did not. I have a strong hunch the author recently graduated with an MFA, and in a way, is speaking
Apr 22, 2020 rated it liked it

I think my biggest mistake reading this book was going into it expecting a dark academia, when that isn't exactly the case. The characters were engaging at first and the book overall had a good message, but I just struggled to get invested at all. It felt like barely any events happened and the focus was on overly describing all these events and characters, that didn't even lead to a satisfying build up and reveal. While the choice to have the narrator be a collective voice was interesting,
Jaclyn Crupi
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 As soon as the collective choral narration of an entire MFA class, minus three central students, clicks this book soars. It’s at its best when it’s exploring writing process and purpose. This is for anyone fascinated by MFA writing programs in the US and writing process and craft in general. I loved Zancan’s debut Local Girls and this is an incredibly confident and competent second book.
Mar 10, 2020 rated it did not like it
I can’t DNF a book, but I really wish I could. I found this long (despite its actually shortness at 300 pages!), and very boring. I ended up skimming most of it, missing the “main” event completely.

I also didn’t care for the writing style, and found the flow quite strange.

It pains me to write such a review but this book just wasn’t for me!
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32 likes · 9 comments
“She loved it the way you can love only a certain number of arrangements of words across the span of a life . . . we had all loved something—some poem or passage or cluster of words—as much as Leslie loved Hannah's story.

It was the reason we were all there.”
“He had the kind of shrunken posture that promised something terrible had happened to him.” 1 likes
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