Author: Joan Barfoot

Published: 2005

Genre: Fiction

About Luck: Nora awakens one morning to find her husband, Philip, dead beside her. Over the next few days, the artist and the other members of her household try to come to terms with their loss—and each other.

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Book Review

Nora is an artist, a painter who incorporates textiles and other objects into her work. Her husband, Philip, creates one-of-a-kind, very expensive pieces of furniture. Sophie is their assistant and looks after the running of the house. Beth is Nora's model. All four live together in a big house on the edge of a small town.

Until the morning Nora wakes up and finds that Philip has died during the night.

...and so as that household emperor, that domestic paladin Philip is borne out the door, down the steps, down the walk, and is slid, not without jostling, into the back of the ambulance, and is driven slowly downhill towards disapproving or sorrowful or envying myth, Nora is thinking, Now what? Not unsentimentally, not at all without grief and grave shock, but nevertheless: now what?

...from page 8

The book takes place over three days, from Philip's death to his funeral, and finishes with a single night one year later. Its point-of-view shifts between the women, often from one paragraph to the next, and three questions soon beg answers:

What exactly did Nora do to evoke such antagonism from the townsfolk?

Why does Sophie often wake up screaming in the middle of the night?

Is there anything more to Beth than vanity and tea recipes?

The answers were revealed gradually and often kept me turning pages well past my bedtime. The writing was witty, dark, and very good (although I had to pay attention so that I wouldn't get lost in all the commas), and the book was a quick read. It also boasted a terrific opening sentence and a near-perfect closing sentence. Luck was my introduction to Barfoot and I will definitely be reading more.

Reviewed by Lynn Bornath on 10 November 2005.

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More reviews

Amanda Craig.
“...Luck is a sustained, sardonic satire on mortality.”
Krista Banik, The Charlatan, 29 September 2005.
“...a book full of sharp imagery that makes for a fascinating read...”
‘Lady Luck.’ Zoe Whittall, NOW Magazine, November 2005.
“...unexpectedly and delightfully derisive, cutting and comical.”


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Added 10 November 2005.
Updated 04 September 2013.