The Last of Her Kind by Sigrid Nunez

#58 in my book challenge for the year was The Last of Her Kind by Sigrid Nunez. It is the carefully crafted tale of Ann Drayton, an heiress with a conscience, who gets in trouble during the 1970s. Told by Ann’s college roommate, Georgette, the narrative takes several interesting and unexpected diversions, which all contribute to a satisfying whole. I re-read many passages as I went, because they offered up more with each new encounter.

I have been blamed by others for my timidity; I have heard my passionate love of reading denounced as an addiction, a vice, a cowardly avoidance of the challenges, dangers, excitements, and even duties of real life.

A few things troubled me about the book. Part Five makes a daring switch from first person to third, and nearly pulls it off, except that there are too many things that the author couldn’t have known. Otherwise, I thought the varied points of view in the novel were extemely impressive. A segment near the end written by a prison inmate was too long, and varied too much in voice. Finally, the last two paragraphs are a quote from The Great Gatsby, and a comment on it that didn’t flow well for me from what went before, which was an interesting critique of that great book.

These things are small, though, especially compared to the richness of the story and the characters. The voices are strong, and their lives are compelling. It was a fascinating history lesson as well.

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