Darryl Mexic's Reviews > The Last Life

The Last Life by Claire Messud
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Jan 26, 2011

it was ok
Read in June, 2010

** “The Last Life” by Claire Messud: Fifteen year old Sagesse La Basse muses about her life and family to an extent that is occasionally interesting, but mostly boring and without a central theme. Her American mother and French-Algerian father are respectively looked down upon and dominated by her martinet paternal grandfather and his patrician wife. The grandfather immigrated to France from Algeria, along with wife and daughter, to open a small hotel on France’s Mediterranean coast. They left Algeria because of the coming war for independence from France, but Algeria always remains their hearts’ homeland and seems to have a central role in Sagesse’s understanding or misunderstanding of her father and grandparents. This is a coming of age story with some of the typical teenage angst and rebellion, but having neither the charm nor the drama of most enjoyable novels of that genre. For reasons I cannot understand, the New York Times found “The Last Life” to be “a large and resonant novel that is as artful as it is affecting.” Horse races.
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