By Jenny Offill
Delta, Paperback, 9780385334952, 272pp.
Publication Date: April 11, 2000
Grace's father believes in science and builds his daughter a dollhouse with lights that really work. Grace's mother takes her skinny-dipping in the lake and teaches her about African hyena men who devour their wives in their sleep. Grace's world, of fact and fiction, marvels and madness, is slowly unraveling because her family is coming apart before her eyes. Now eight-year-old Grace must choose between her two very different, very flawed parents, a choice that will take her on a dizzying journey, away from her home in Vermont to the boozy, flooded streets of New Orleans--and into the equally wondrous and frightening realm of her own imagination.
With eloquence and compassion, Jenny Offill weaves a luminous story of a wounded family and of a young girl yearning to understand the difference between fiction, fact, and hope. A novel of vibrant imagination and searing intelligence, Last Things is a stunning literary achievement.
"A beautiful debut novel, a gently funny tragedy about childhood and madness . . . pokes at the boundaries between reason and imagination." --Newsday
"Jenny Offill . . . has created a fantastical family, at times loving and sweet, sorrowful and dangerous. The prose, though told through the eyes of Grace, is sparse, elegant, and inviting." --The Boston Globe
"Offill's deceptively simple prose, her exquisite sense of metaphor and her ear for humor capture the subtle perceptions of this wise child so that we feel to the bone her burgeoning awareness."--Chicago Tribune
"[A] gem of a first novel." --Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Offill's dialogue and quirky details are truly delightful."--Baltimore Sun