The Last Life by Claire Messud - PDF free download eBook


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Narrated by a fifteen-year-old girl with a ruthless regard for truth, The Last Life is a beautifully told novel of lies and ghosts, love and honor. Set in colonial Algeria, and in the south of France and New England, it is the tale of the LaBasse fam...

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Details of The Last Life

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date
Age range
18+ Years
Book language
High quality OCR
5.28 (w) x 8.02 (h) x 1.01 (d)

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Some brief overview of this book

Narrated by a fifteen-year-old girl with a ruthless regard for truth, The Last Life is a beautifully told novel of lies and ghosts, love and honor. Set in colonial Algeria, and in the south of France and New England, it is the tale of the LaBasse family, whose quiet integrity is shattered by the shots from a grandfathers rifle. As their world suddenly begins to crumble, long-hidden shame emerges: a son abandoned by the family before he was even born, a mother whose identity is not what she has claimed, a father whose act of defiance brings Hotel Bellevue-the family business-to its knees. Messud skillfully and inexorably describes how the stories we tell ourselves, and the lies to which we cling, can turn on us in a moment. It is a work of stunning power from a writer to watch.

A few words about book's author

Claire Messud was born in the United States in 1966. She was educated at Yale and Cambridge. Her first novel, When the World Was Steady, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1996. Her second novel, The Last Life, was widely praised and has been translated into several languages.


Claire Messud was educated at Cambridge and Yale. Her novels, When the World Was Steady and The Hunters were both finalists for the PEN/Faulkner Award; her second novel, The Last Life, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and Editors Choice at The Village Voice. All three of her books were New York Times Notable Books of the Year. She has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Radcliffe Fellowship, and is the current recipient of the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband and children. Author biography courtesy of Random House

Good To Know

1. As a child in Australia, I wore a school uniform that included a hat on my head and the color of my underpants. If you had long hair, you had to wear it up, with grey ribbons. You werent allowed to take your hat off in public, or to eat in public in uniform. It all sounds very draconian, but I loved it. I think my abiding interest in knowing rules, and breaking them, comes from those early days. Im a big believer in rules - like grammar, for example. If you know the rules of grammar, its fine to break them. If you dont know the rules, and break them by mistake, people can usually tell... 2. We have, in our family, a dachshund named Myshkin. Shes middle aged, short-haired, red and a little portly, but very delicious, with soulful eyes. It may not seem kind to have named her after Prince Myshkin, the protagonist of Dostoevksys THE IDIOT; but shes an idiot in the best possible sense: an innocent. Theres no guile in her. That said, shes spectacularly greedy, and only last night grabbed a piece of sushi off my husbands plate when he wasnt looking. When I was a child, we had two dachshunds, uncle and nephew, named Big and Small. They were quite particular and temperamental, which I thought was great. When we were looking for a dog, I persuaded my reluctant husband that we should have a dachshund by pointing out that as a breed, they were crabby and discriminating - as well as animals which, on account of their physiques, have a strong understanding of the absurdity of life. As it turned out, Myshkin is a complete pushover, as undiscriminating as they come, and stops and wags her tail for strangers in the street. 3. I dont keep a diary. I believe, in principle, that one should; but after re-reading 10 year old entries in horror, and discovering that my reflections and preoccupations had changed not at all in the course of my entire adult life, I gave up writing any of it down about ten years ago. Now, like my grandfather before me, Im more likely to note what I had for dinner or what the weather was like in the margins of my date-book than I am to spill forth my innermost thoughts. Im not sure, at this point, that I have any innermost thoughts.

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