The Last of Her Kind
By Sigrid Nunez
(Picador, Paperback, 9780312425944, 400pp.)
Publication Date: December 12, 2006
List Price: $26.00*
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A "San Francisco Chronicle" Best Book of the Year
A "Christian Science Monitor "Best Book of the Year
Ann Drayton and Georgette George meet as freshmen roommates at Barnard College in 1968. Ann, who comes from a wealthy New England family, is brilliant and idealistic. Georgette, who comes from a bleak town in upstate New York, is mystified by Ann's romanticization of the underprivileged class, which Georgette herself is hoping college will enable her to escape. An intense and difficult friendship is born.
Years after a fight ends their friendship, Ann is convicted of a violent crime. As Georgette struggles to understand what has happened, she is led back to their shared history and to an examination of the revolutionary era in which the two women came of age. Only now does she discover how much her early encounter with this extraordinary, complicated woman has determined her own path in life, and why, after all this time, as she tells us, "I have never stopped thinking about her.
Sigrid Nunez is the author of four novels including A Feather on the Breath of God and For Rouenna. She has received a Whiting Writers' Award, the Rome Prize in Literature, and a Berlin Prize Fellowship. She lives in New York City.
- The Last of Her Kind is partly about the special bond that can form between young people who meet when they leave home for college. In what ways is the relationship between Georgette George and Ann Drayton typical of such friendships? In what ways is it different? Are there characteristics about it that seem to you to belong specifically to friendships between women? How well do you feel Georgette and Ann understand each other as friends?
"A brilliant, dazzling, daring novel. Nunez has taken the old American dream and stood it on its head."--The Boston Globe
"A passionate honesty grips the heart of The Last of Her Kind. . . . [A] subtle and profoundly moving novel about friendship, romantic idealism, and shame."--O, The Oprah Magazine
"A book that feels . . . like the discovery of a crucial document, the riveting archive of the lives of the last of all kinds of dreamers."--Newsday
"An unflinching examination of justice, race, and political idealism that brings to mind Philip Roth's American Pastoral and the tenacious intelligence of Nadine Gordimer."--The New York Times "A remarkable and disconcerting vision of a troubled time in American history."--The New Yorker
"Sigrid Nunez teaches an honors-level survey course in the sexual, political, and cultural movements that shaped the thinking (and rocked the world) of so many boomer women. Nunez's voice is unflinching and intimate, her novelistic structure as invitingly informal as jottings in a journal."--Entertainment Weekly
"A compelling account of the 1960s and their aftermath, a carefully written and discerning narrative with closely drawn portraits of two prototypical yet unique women trying to construct a friendship across an unbridgeable class divide."--The New York Times Book Review
"[A] powerful and acute social novel, perhaps the finest yet written about that peculiar generation of young Americans who believed their destiny was to shape history. . . . Don't miss it."--Salon.com
"A masterful construction of the troubled conscience of the era and its aftermath."--Kirkus Reviews
"There's much to admire here: incisive analysis about class, race, and the prison system, authoritative writing about the late '60s cultural landscape and lots of recognizable cultural markers of the time."--Kansas City Star
"Rich in historical detail, this unpredictable novel zeroes in on what it means to renounce class privilege and sacrifice oneself in the service of human betterment. Stunningly powerful, it is highly recommended."--Library Journal
"This is a novel about idealism and also about race relations, class, madness, rock music, and the true nature of love. It's a tribute to the skill and sensitivity of author Sigrid Nunez that The Last of Her Kind has something revelatory to say about each of these subjects. Decades from now, historians would do well to consult this book to get a true sense of how the upheavals of the late 1960s reverberated through the lives of young Americans from one who experienced this social earthquake firsthand."--The Baltimore Sun
"Told in a pastiche of styles and jump-cuts from past to present, The Last of Her Kind serves as both an homage to--and an indictment of--an era. . . . Immensely refreshing."--Boldtype
"Ambitiously conceived."--The Washington Post Book World
"This engrossing, beautiful novel will enthrall readers."--Booklist (starred review)
"By the end of this novel--propelled by rich, almost scholarly prose--all the parts come together to capture the violent idealism of the times while illuminating a moving truth about human nature."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)