The Last Resort

The Last Resort

by Alison Lurie
     
 

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Like a loyal Victorian wife, Jenny has devoted her life to her much older husband, the famous writer and naturalist Wilkie Walker, bringing up their children and researching and editing his bestselling books. But this year, as winter approaches, Wilkie is increasingly depressed and withdrawn. At her wit's end, Jenny persuades him to visit Key West, the Last Resort.

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Overview

Like a loyal Victorian wife, Jenny has devoted her life to her much older husband, the famous writer and naturalist Wilkie Walker, bringing up their children and researching and editing his bestselling books. But this year, as winter approaches, Wilkie is increasingly depressed and withdrawn. At her wit's end, Jenny persuades him to visit Key West, the Last Resort.

But Key West is not called the Last Resort for nothing. Lives can turn upside down here, and even short-term visitors can have experiences they never imagined. Within weeks of their arrival, Jenny not only has a part-time job but is becoming involved with assorted local characters, including Gerry, an ex-beatnik poet, and Lee, the dramatically attractive manager of a women-only guest house. Wilkie, meanwhile, is planning his own "accidental" death by drowning--a task that turns out to be more difficult than he thought--and trying to avoid the attentions of a breathless young female fan.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
"A perfect summer read: entertainment that is at once highly intelligent and mildly edifying."—Publishers Weekly

"[A] sparkling, smart new novel.... Time has not blunted the sharpness of her observational powers."—The New York Times Book Review

America's leading comic novelist and a Pulitzer Prize winner (for Foreign Affairs, 1985), Alison Lurie is back with her first novel in ten years and 1998's hottest summer read. The Last Resort is "beach reading with brains and bite" (Kirkus Reviews) and is electrifying readers and critics around the country.

The book's title is a pun about Key West, the last dot of the Florida Keys, and also the suicide that character Wilkie Walker, a famous writer and naturalist, is grimly planning. At the novel's start, Jenny Walker, Wilkie's ultradevoted wife — who's also 20 years his junior — is at her wit's end. When she isn't doting on Wilkie, she is researching or editing his bestselling books and raising their children. Jenny has been largely content with this life — until now.

As the cold New England winter approaches, Jenny knows she and Wilkie are in dire need of some sun. Hoping that a change of setting will instill new life into her languid companion, Jenny persuades Wilkie to rent a house in Key West for a short time. Literally and figuratively, it's their last resort.

Key West is not called the Last Resort for nothing. There lives can turn upside down, and even short-term visitors can have experiences they never imagined. Within weeks of their arrival, theWalkers'presence in Key West has caused quite a stir. Jenny not only has a part-time job but is becoming involved with an assortment of local characters, including Gerry, an ex-beatnik poet who proclaims his love to her; Lee, the owner of the B&B, whose attraction to her soon has Jenny tasting the delights of lesbian love; Jacko, their landlord, who is growing increasingly sick with AIDS; Barbie Mumpson, a drooling Wilkie fan and animal lover; and a score of others.

Meanwhile, Wilkie is planning his own "accidental" death by drowning — a task that turns out to be much more difficult than he thought. Jenny, mistaking Wilkie's urge to die for his disinterest in her, and thinking he is having an affair, turns to Lee for love.

Witty, intelligent, and filled with a rich cast of characters encountering and overcoming a multitude of social and emotional issues, The Last Resort is a perfect evocation of Key West, and another dazzling demonstration of Alison Lurie's talent for high comedy and social comment. As The New York Times Book Review reports, "Lurie writes touchingly, and rather beautifully, about the sorrows of old age, the loss of loved ones, the indignities of physical frailty, the fear of time running out and of the nearness of death."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805061741
Publisher:
Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
06/01/1999
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.56(w) x 8.38(h) x 0.78(d)

What People are saying about this

Lisa Schwarzbaum
Lurie moves her players around with tthe kind of giant board-game steps that make for a fine summer novel. . . . But there's a smudge at the cneter of The Last Resort where a fully drawn Lurie character is needed. -- Entertainmeent Weekly

Meet the Author

Alison Lurie is the author of many highly praised novels including The War Between the Tates, The Truth About Lorin Jones (Prix Femina Estranger, 1989), and Foreign Affairs (1985 Pulitzer Prize for fiction). She currently divides her time between Ithaca, Key West, and London.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Ithaca, New York; London, England; Key West, Florida
Date of Birth:
September 3, 1926
Place of Birth:
Chicago, Illinois
Education:
A.B., Radcliffe College, 1947

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