Some books are so well written and compelling they practically read themselves. That was my experience with Nicola Griffith’s most recent release, So Lucky (2018), a short but powerful novel about adjusting to life-altering disability. Its protagonist is Mara Tagarelli, a happily married nonprofit executive who in the space of a week is left by her wife and diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Her new condition throws her life into disarray, costing her job, her passion for martial arts, and, it seems, any chance at finding happiness with a potential new partner. Mara’s largely solitary struggle to adjust to a disconcerting new normal—navigating a world decidedly not designed to accommodate her disability—is as psychological as it is physical, forcing her down dark paths in search of new reserves of personal strength and resolve.
So Lucky reads quickly and effortlessly, a gripping tale of the depression, fear, and rage that can take over when our bodies betray us. Mara’s journey is a wrenching one, both in its gripping personal narrative and its broader commentary, exposing the systemic cruelties and harsh realities of ableism. Despite the dark, difficult subject matter, the story is fueled by just the right amount of defiance and hope. It’s more evidence of Griffith’s impressive range and voice, and an eye-opening read.