The Booker Prize, one of the biggest literary events in English-language fiction, yesterday announced the 13 finalists for its 2019 awards. The long list has some notable nominees, including The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, which is expected to be released on Sept. 10, and Quichotte, Salman Rushdie’s forthcoming Don Quixote-inspired novel, set in America.
But perhaps most notable is the only book on the list by a US-born author, Lucy Ellmann. Ducks, Newburyport is the Edinburgh-based writer’s eighth novel and consists of a single sentence that runs over 1,000 pages.
A thousand-page sentence? Now that’s scary.
Ducks, Newburyport is, as The Telegraph describes it, “the interior monologue of an Ohio housewife ruminating on everything from dinner party menus to the dark side of Trump’s America.” In total, it’s a 426,100-word sentence; readers get several brief respites from the protagonist’s inner monologue with a parallel story, told from the perspective of a mountain lioness.
This would appear to break the record set by The Rotters’ Club by Jonathan Coe, which contains a 13,955-word sentence — but it’s not the whole book by any means.