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The Last Resort

3.18 of 5 stars 3.18  ·  rating details  ·  256 ratings  ·  30 reviews
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 best-selling books. But this year, as winter approaches, Wilkie is increasingly depressed and withdrawn. At her wit's, Jenny persuades him to visit Key West, the Last Resort. Within wee
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 1st 1999 by Owl Books (first published 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 387)
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Cindi Blyberg
lurie reduces one of the most famous literate locales and flamboyant towns in the u.s. to a bunch of lukewarm, two-dimensional characters doing a lot of tepid, uninteresting things. (spring 2004)
Lynda Schmidt
Okay, it really isn't fair that I rate the book a 1 since I didn't even finish it but, like many of the other GoodReads reviews, I found that I cared very little about the characters and it seemed like nothing was happening - I couldn't imagine maintaining faith for another 150 pages. I expected to like the book much more. (Thank goodness it wasn't a book club book or I might have to forfeit my awesome award. :) )
Could. Not. Finish.
Deborah Markus
I read this years ago and was disappointed in it. I'd just fallen in love with Lurie via "The Truth About Lorin Jones," and didn't think this lived up to that. Also, I know Lurie loves drawing on her previous novels for characters, but I thought she took it a little too far here. A surprise appearance near the end of the novel strains credibility, especially given this book's relationship to "Lorin Jones."

I'm older now; and while I think my previous criticisms still stand, I found more to admire...more
If we could give half stars, I'd rate this book 2.5.. half way between "it was ok" and "I liked it." I wanted a trip to Key West and I like the version that Alison Lurie gives us. Her observations of tourists and tourists who become residents strikes me as so true... I see it where I live now and have seen it in places I've lived before (I like living in places in which the population has high and low seasons.)

"...shops and restaurants were crowded with adults dressed like children at play, in...more
Janet Gardner
The titular last resort is Key West, where an amusingly assorted cast of characters have come to—variously—work, vacation, live, or die in the sun. The cast includes naturalist writer Wilkie Walker, who believes that he is dying of cancer and has come to Key West to “accidentally” drown himself before he becomes truly sick; Wilkie’s (slavishly) devoted, much younger wife Jenny, who is beginning to wonder if she might actually be a lesbian; Lee, owner of a women-only guest house, who would love t...more
I feel badly saying this, but: this simply isn't a brilliant novel, compared to Lurie's best-known book, Foreign Affairs. It must be terrible to write a really wonderful novel, win a Pulitzer prize for it, and then have every subsequent novel pale in comparison. Having said this, The Last Resort is a diverting read, a bit disconnected--some of the characters seem to have been forcefully developed solely in order to put the main characters into motion--but worth a week or reading time.
Bonnie G
I like Lurie's storytelling, and I read this because I love Key West as a setting. However, I wasn't really taken by the characters. The professor husband is a whiner, the main female character is confused. The only sure character is the lesbian inn owner. The denouement was not believable. I see the humor in the book, but it needs more than humor to keep it going.

I do want to try another of her novels, though. I think I like most of her storytelling style.
I just finished reading this book. My first Lurie book. They are not so easy to come by for some reason. It was ok. I enjoyed reading the book and seeing the development of the characters but I really did not like the ending. I felt that once one character resolved his issue, the rest of the book just fell apart and she didnt really tie up all the ends she started. I think really I would give this book 2.5 stars.
I agree with many other reviewers who liked the first half of the book but felt it faltered after, Seems once Willie Walker finds out truth, it is less intriguing of a plot, I didn't mind the changing from points of view of different characters . Overall the characters were interesting,
Janie Vogel
The startup was more satisfying than the last half. The main characters were "quirky," and I'm not a big fan of quirky -- too often that drifts into caricature and stops being believable. That was the case here, in my opinion. But I was compelled to finish it, and I have no compunctions about closing a book that no longer interests me. Too many books, too little time!
Jayne Charles
I really didn't like this novel. It started off okay, but rapidly degenerated into a series of events it was hard to care about. The one point to note is that this book features a character by the name of Barbie Mumpson Hickock, perhaps one of the more startling names in fiction, but a vapid character nonetheless.
This was an easy,light read but the characters were not very appealing and the ending kind of fizzled. There were many times during the first 2/3 of the book that I wanted to scream "just kill yourself already!" to Wilkie Walker while hoping that his wife Jenny would miraculously develop a backbone.
An OK book that got tedious at times telling the story of gays and straights, residents and visitors,
desperate souls and optimistic characters, laid back types and go-getters, all in Key West, a place that Tom and I visited in early March this year.
Lukewarm read. Started off really awesome, I loved the characters and where the plot was going. The second half was dull, duller, dead. Not pleased with the second half or subsequent ending at all.
Started slow, got interesting, didn't really go anywhere. Seemed to be a commentary on growing old and various characters take on confronting age and death.
Sandra Evans
I found this book shallow and repetitive. I only finished it to find out what happened but I might as well not bothered because nothing really did happen.
Set in Key West this novel revolves around the life of Jenny, devoted wife to aging naturalist Wilkie Walker. Very amusing and engaging.
Lucy Burdette
I enjoyed the Key West setting very much. But for me, the multiple points of view made it difficult to connect with the characters
Donna Kass
Ultimately, what this book says is live for today because who knows what tomorrow brings. A sweet little book set in Key West.
Anne Van
Set in the mid-1980's Key West, a comedy poking gentle fun at pompous environmentalists and marriage conventions.
ok but not great. I think I read it before but can't quite remember. Not Alison Lurie's best, for sure.
Cathy Freeman
what a wonderful book! dark and funny at one time-all is resolved somehow at the end
Elle c'est un peu mon idole.....
Peggy Elkins
Ok, nothing to write home about.
Another book about writer-scholars.
Castine Rees
Good summer read, but not much depth.
stiff, stilted, thin, unlikable.
light but nice
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Alison Lurie (b. 1926) is a Pulitzer Prize–winning author of fiction and nonfiction. Born in Chicago and raised in White Plains, New York, she joined the English department at Cornell University in 1970, where she taught courses on children’s literature, among others. Her first novel, Love and Friendship (1962), is a story of romance and deception among the faculty of a snowbound New England colle...more
More about Alison Lurie...
Foreign Affairs The War Between the Tates Truth and Consequences: A Novel The Oxford Book of Modern Fairy Tales Don't Tell the Grown-Ups: The Subversive Power of Children's Literature

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“Having a chronic illness, Molly thought, was like being invaded. Her grandmother back in Michigan used to tell about the day one of their cows got loose and wandered into the parlor, and the awful time they had getting her out. That was exactly what Molly's arthritis was like: as if some big old cow had got into her house and wouldn't go away. It just sat there, taking up space in her life and making everything more difficult, mooing loudly from time to time and making cow pies, and all she could do really was edge around it and put up with it.

When other people first became aware of the cow, they expressed concern and anxiety. They suggested strategies for getting the animal out of Molly's parlor: remedies and doctors and procedures, some mainstream and some New Age. They related anecdotes of friends who had removed their own cows in one way or another. But after a while they had exhausted their suggestions. Then they usually began to pretend that the cow wasn't there, and they preferred for Molly to go along with the pretense.”
“Though most tourists accepted the occasional comic misadventure, it was important to them that overall their vacation should be pleasant. When you spend money on a holiday you are essentially purchasing happiness: if you don't enjoy yourself you will feel defrauded.” 2 likes
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