Julie Sarkissian

Julie Sarkissian

A native of Orange County, California, Julie Sarkissian attended Princeton University, where she won the Francis Leon Paige award for creative writing. She holds an MFA in fiction from the New School in New York and her short fiction has appeared in Tin House Magazine and Quick Fictions and she has written for the New York Times, New York Observer and the Huffington Post. She currently lives with her husband in Brooklyn Heights, New York.

DEAR LUCY is Julie's debut novel.

Visit Julie's website at www.juliesarkissian.com, Like DEAR LUCY on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Dear-Lucy and follow Julie on Twitter @SarkissianJulie

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.
Hodder & Stoughton

Dear Lucy

By Julie Sarkissian
DEAR LUCY introduces a young writer with a most original voice and a tenderly eccentric vision. Julie Sarkissian has created a boldly lyrical, suspenseful, and mysterious fictional world in this striking debut novel.Gloriously intimate, full of strangeness and striking sentences that made me stop and savour Lucy's world.DEAR LUCY is about keeping promises against huge odds. This gorgeous novel does exactly that: the opening pages promise transcendent writing, remarkable characters, and a slowly unfolding mystery. But what happened and why is only part of what keeps you reading . . . Both whimsical and profound, DEAR LUCY wins your heart on the very first page and delivers it back, fuller and slightly cracked, on the last.Lucy is a heroine with a unique voice who offers a deeply engaging view of her world. The desperate journey Lucy embarks on is compelling - she carries us along with her every step of the way. The reader can see what Lucy can't, and the skilful depiction of her naivety contrasted with the intentions of those around her makes us care about her all the more. This is a novel which explores a variety of themes such as motherhood, life force, choice, faith and personal morals. DEAR LUCY is a rewarding and compulsive novel, written in a beautiful, at times poetic style. I fell in love with Lucy on the first page, and am still thinking about what's happening to her now, even after the last page has been turned.An incredibly accomplished debut. Brave, beautifully written and above all big-hearted. I loved it.In DEAR LUCY, Julie Sarkissian has accomplished what many veteran novelists never achieve: a startlingly original work that is also profound and wise in the vagaries of the heart. What an amazing debut.Julie Sarkissian has written a rare and precious novel - moving, captivating, and expertly written in a voice unlike any other. DEAR LUCY is full of characters who are heartbreakingly human; full of hope, desperation, love and joy. You'll want to linger over the poetry of each and every sentence, but the foreboding mystery looming on the horizon will keep you turning the pages of this hauntingly beautiful book.Hypnotic and mesmerizing. This is gothic noir that is full of heart and pathos. Lucy's lyric voice comes barreling off the page, and you will be utterly transfixed by the twists and turns of her journey. Sarkissian is a brilliant young writer who has written one of the most memorable debut novels in recent years.Julie Sarkissian has written the most original and stunning debut novels I have read in a long time. DEAR LUCY is one of those rare delights that you cannot put down, and once you do, you can't forget.

A native of Orange County, California, Julie Sarkissian attended Princeton University, where she won the Francis Leon Paige award for creative writing, and holds an MFA in fiction from the New School in New York. Her short fiction has appeared in Tin House Magazine and Quick Fictions. She currently lives in Brooklyn Heights, New York, with her fiancé.

DEAR LUCY is Julie's debut novel.

Follow Julie on Twitter @SarkissianJulie

Longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize 2013.Beautiful writing and elements of a thriller combine to form a beautiful evocation of the magic and danger of childhood.A breathtaking, captivating debut novel from a young American writer.The perfect reading group book with a brave, quirky and endearing young narrator.Will appeal to fans of Room and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.Prize-winning potential.
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DEAR LUCY introduces a young writer with a most original voice and a tenderly eccentric vision . . . [a] striking debut novel.

Joyce Carol Oates

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    Julie Sarkissian's official website

    Visit Julie's website to learn more about Julie, her writing, and DEAR LUCY.
    An incredibly accomplished debut. Brave, beautifully written and above all big-hearted. I loved it.

    Sarah Rayner

      Ten Questions

      Julie is interviewed by Policy Mic

      Julie speaks about life as a millennial writer, getting a book deal, and what comes next.
      DEAR LUCY is a rewarding and compulsive novel, written in a beautiful, at times poetic style. I fell in love with Lucy on the first page.

      Jess Richards

        A short story

        The New Saint Claire Restaurant

        Click here to read Julie's short story featured in Tin House Magazine.
        A startlingly original work that is also profound and wise in the vagaries of the heart. What an amazing debut.

        Ron Rash

          Gloriously intimate, full of strangeness and striking sentences that made me stop and savour Lucy's world.

          Alison Moore

            @SarkissianJulie

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            All the different ways there are to make a family

            The Nervous Breakdown interviews Julie

            Julie is interviewed by fellow Brooklyn-based novelist Amy Shearn
            Read Julie's essay in the Huffington Post

            Essay

            Doc, have you read my book?
            The New School, NYC

            Interviewed by her Alma Mater

            Julie answers questions put to her by her alma mater, the New School, in Greenwich Village, New York. Julie graduated from the New School with a MFA in Fiction in 2007.
            An article by Julie Sarkissian

            How to Defend Your Life, Without Getting Defensive

            Julie Sarkissian on waitressing, writing, and living the New York City dream.
            The perils of parking in NYC

            My New Office: A Parking Space

            Debut author Julie Sarkissian on the difficulties of owning a car in New York City.
            Speaking about her debut novel DEAR LUCY

            Julie is interviewed by the Puffin Review

            The author of DEAR LUCY talks about her working day, the value of poetry to a prose writer, and how it felt to get a rave review from Joyce Carol Oates.
            Refreshingly new

            Interviewed by Slice Magazine

            Julie talks about how the characters in DEAR LUCY emerged, why her couch is the best (and worst) place to write, and more.
            Both whimsical and profound, DEAR LUCY wins your heart on the very first page and delivers it back, fuller and slightly cracked, on the last.

            Charlotte Rogan

              Hodder & Stoughton

              Dear Lucy

              Julie Sarkissian
              Authors:
              Julie Sarkissian

              LONGLISTED FOR THE DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE 2013Lucy is different - 'I don't have right words for things and I have no good behavior' - and she doesn't understand why her mother has sent her to live with the elderly Mister and Missus on their farm. Yet she knows she must never leave or else her mother won't be able to find her again.But when something terrible happens to Samantha, her only friend on the farm, Lucy embarks on a dangerous journey, willing to risk everything for her.Julie Sarkissian's enchanting and enthralling debut novel introduces an unforgettable new heroine of contemporary fiction whose original voice, exuberance and bravery linger long after the final page.