Fate and reinvention in Amy Bloom’s latest
When we describe a person as lucky, we typically mean that she has good luck. But the characters in Amy Bloom’s Lucky Us are really more luck-inclined; they have good luck and they have bad luck, but fate always seems to intervene.
The novel starts with a bang: The year is 1939, and 11-year-old Eva Logan is abandoned on her father’s doorstep, where he lives with his wealthier “real” family.
Eva grows close to her half-sister, Iris, a great beauty with film-star aspirations. Disappointed by their small-town Ohio lives, the sisters set off for Los Angeles. Iris embarks upon a successful movie career, which is hastily thwarted when she’s caught in a scandalous tryst with another woman.
From there, Iris and Eva reinvent themselves yet again, this time in Great Neck, New York, with their con-man father and makeup-artist pal in tow. They soon team up with a kindly Italian-American family--but as is always the case in this novel, good fortune quickly sours.
From debauched Hollywood parties to depraved Brooklyn orphanages to WWII internment camps, Lucky Us twists and turns with remarkable agility. But through it all, we’re grounded by Bloom’s lively, funny voice. The ending is also remarkably satisfying--as luck would have it.