Lucy and Todd


In Reviews of Our Books on February 6, 2012 at 6:20 pm


[Winner of the Guardian Fiction Prize]

Sweet Desserts was widely praised, but outright rapture would have been more appropriate. The book starts out as an enchantment and ends as a bad dream, without ceasing to be funny.
Clive James   Observer

A triumph … there isn’t a sentimental evasion or a dull bit of writing in the book … Lucy Ellmann is an original.
Judy Cooke   Guardian

Lucy Ellmann does write a lovely novel. She knits the inner and outer worlds together with a natural grace: a kind of conversational elegance. An enviable skill, and an enchanting, enchanted book.
Fay Weldon

…Ms. Ellmann demonstrates that she is not merely a clever collage maker, but a gifted writer capable of exploring the tragedies as well as the absurdities of family life.
Michiko Kakutani   New York Times

Droll, drastically honest, deeply moving—the real thing.
Craig Raine


Imagine Anita Brookner on acid, and you’ll get a vague idea of the delicacy, charm and sheer dottiness of Lucy Ellmann’s Varying Degrees of Hopelessness … This is a novel like nothing else; an irresistible cocktail of satire, slapstick and tenderness.
Kate Saunders   Cosmopolitan

A liberating and richly inventive farce.
Jonathan Coe   Guardian

Funny and furious … her merry little novel is a vehicle for disgust … Lucy Ellmann is clever and very angry.
Victoria Glendinning   The Times

Perhaps it takes such a hybrid to revivify the English novel … There is a kind of magic in the realism of Lucy Ellmann.
Victoria Radin   New Statesman

A beautiful thing.
Nick Hornby   Sunday Times 


Hilarious … razor-sharp wit. Ellmann transcends the novel form—she’s in a class of her own.

An anarchic lament of such scope and intensity that it has an almost vertiginous quality… It also boasts dazzling jokes … brilliant.
Susie Boyt   Independent

Fabulously funny … caus(ing) bouts of loud and real laughter to go off inside you like fireworks … an unforgettable read.
Book of the Month, Irish Tatler

To read it is bliss … turning its pages brings little palpitations of pleasure and moments of happy surrender to an artful and uninhibited tale of human desperation.
Patricia Deevy   Image

Bold, wayward, fantastical … so anarchic, and so finely balanced … reminds one of Sterne, or Montaigne.
Jane Shilling  The Times

Furious wit, sly compassion and originality … the sheer verve of her imagination … leaves the reader with … giddy wonder.
Jennifer Duncan   Now Magazine 

A true poet … Ellmann is a bright and shining talent.
Meredith Phillips   Austin Chronicle


Lucy Ellmann’s delightfully dotty novel is a fantastical flight across life, death and the universe… Reading Ellmann is to be taken on a subversive adventure by a bad-tempered fairy. Rarely has there been such a mischievous affirmation of the meaninglessness of existence.
Lisa Allardice   The Telegraph

…it’s fun, it’s rich, it’s funny. It’s the kind of novel you don’t want to read alone, in silence, which is infuriating for any poor soul who wanders into the room only to be grabbed and read the good bits. And it’s all kind of poetic, as if over the years Ellmann had acquired a real, lyrical confidence, a fearless rhythm of her own.
Julie Myerson   Guardian

One of the funniest, most mordant and perfectly formed books I’ve read.                                                                                                                                                         Ali Smith

If you can picture Larry David as a ditsy, suicidal blonde living in England and collecting tea cozies, then you have a pretty good idea of Dot Butser, the heroine of Lucy Ellmann’s batty and highly amusing screed of a novel.
Michiko Kakutani   New York Times

Ellmann is better than just clever. She is a genuinely (if sneakily) humane novelist.
Claire Dederer   New York Times


…A CAPITAL case of comic genius.
Michael Bywater   Independent

In her scabrously funny Doctors and Nurses, Lucy Ellmann takes Jane Eyre, transposes it to a modern-day doctor’s surgery, spikes its drink, and does something unspeakable to its sleeping form.
Sam Leith   Telegraph

…it’s somehow hard not to be optimistic in the hands of a writer so angry and intelligent … Doctors and Nurses is a novel bracingly alive, making more polite books seem cadaverous by comparison.
Patrick Ness    The Guardian

I begin to suspect she may be some sort of genius.
Victoria Lane    Telegraph

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