Start reading The Last Life on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here or start reading now with a free Kindle Reading App.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

 
 
 

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available
 

The Last Life [Kindle Edition]

Claire Messud
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
Kindle Price: £4.19 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £4.80 (53%)
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £4.19  
Hardcover --  
Paperback £8.99  
Earn a Free Kindle Book
Earn a Free Kindle Book
Buy a Kindle book between now and 31 March and receive a promotional code good for one free Kindle book. Terms and conditions apply. Learn more

Book Description

The Last Life tells the story of the teenage Sagesse LaBasse and her family, French Algerian emigrants haunted by their history, brought to the brink of destruction by a single reckless act. Observed with a fifteen-year-old’s ruthless regard for truth, it is a novel about secrets and ghosts, love and honour, the stories we tell ourselves and the lies to which we cling. It is a work of stunning emotional power, written in prose of matchless iridescence and grace.

‘Powerful, Gripping, dark at its heart, this is an almost faultless novel’ Evening Standard

‘A joy to read. Messud’s prose is lush, incantatory . . . her observations are funnily astute, brimming with wit and imagination . . . as elegant and precise as geometry’ Independent

‘Mesmerizing . . . Ms Messud has written a large and resonant novel that is as artful as it is affecting’ New York Times


Product Description

Review

When Sagesse LaBasse's grandfather shot at the teenagers larking about in the swimming pool of his beloved Hotel Bellevue, he sparked a series of events that radically altered the life of his granddaughter. Growing up in Algiers in a Franco-Algerian family with an American mother who yearns to be French, Sagesse is aware of the subtleties of race and nationality that pervade the three cultures she is heir to. The LaBasse family, with their mentally retarded son, obsessive grandfather and bridge-playing mother, has a wonderfully Middle-Eastern flavour but Sagesse herself, narrator of this poignant, skilful novel, is a universal teenager: truthful, tactless, compassionate - a totally convincing character in an intriguing tale. (Kirkus UK)

Messud returns (When the World Was Steady, 1995; not reviewed) capably indeed, with an intelligent coming-of-ager about a teenager girl half - American and half-Algerian-French. Sagesse LaBasse is 16 in 1991, and here she tells what took place in her life in that crucial girlhood year and in the three or so years before it: and in doing so also limns a painful span in French history, from colonial days in Africa through the battle of Algiers - and on to the psychic tolls taken on those who became no longer Algerian and not quite French either. Sagesse's grandfather fled Algiers before the collapse, having invested already in land on a semi-barren spot on the Riviera. There he relocated his family, built a hotel, and saw it flourish just as he had foreseen, along with the growing tourist industry. He had always been a rigidly domineering man, however, and success only fed his bitterness at "exile," his increasingly rightist demand for what he thought of as social dignity, decorum, and, above all, civic respect and order. So it is that one night when Sagesse's friends are using the hotel pool and making a great deal of modern, disrespectful teenage noise, her grandfather - well, he shoots at them. Wounding a girl, he ends up in court, goes to jail for six months - and thus exposes the psychic-emotional crack in the LaBasse family that will break it up for good. When that happens, Sagesse will describe it just as bravely and vividly as she does everything else - her own trials through adolescence; her American mother's strange and pale varieties of weakness; the probable feelings of her profoundly retarded brother Etienne (and her own for him); her father's boyhood, maturation, marriage - and finally his utter, wracking, ruinous calamity. A broad canvas, unflinching and clear eye for the truth, and a family tale that never fails to compel and that reverberates universally, as a fine saga should. (Kirkus Reviews)

Book Description

The Last Life tells the story of the teenage Sagesse LaBasse and her family, French Algerian emigrants haunted by their history, brought to the brink of destruction by a single reckless act. Observed with a fifteen-year-old’s ruthless regard for truth, it is a novel about secrets and ghosts, love and honour, the stories we tell ourselves and the lies to which we cling. It is a work of stunning emotional power, written in prose of matchless iridescence and grace. ‘Powerful, Gripping, dark at its heart, this is an almost faultless novel’ Evening Standard ‘A joy to read. Messud’s prose is lush, incantatory . . . her observations are funnily astute, brimming with wit and imagination . . . as elegant and precise as geometry’ Independent ‘Mesmerizing . . . Ms Messud has written a large and resonant novel that is as artful as it is affecting’ New York Times

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 696 KB
  • Print Length: 417 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0156011654
  • Publisher: Picador; New edition edition (21 Nov. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330375644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330375641
  • ASIN: B006B79KFW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #187,329 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly gorgeous!! 11 Oct. 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book was the subject of my local book group - and I am so glad, because the plot synopsis and reviews on the back would never have inspired me to read it. Clare Messud draws you in completely and inescapably to the life of the LaBasse family - and slowly and descriptively tells of the life of a fractured, destructive and disfunctional family unit.
I am sure there are many themes within the book, and everyone looks for their own meaning, but for me the book was all about how we are all trapped into our families - by relationships, circumstances, politics, economics. What really stood out for me though was how I never for one minute forgot who was telling the story, without feeling overwhelmed with pity or sympathy for Sagesse. I felt I ended up judging and viewing her on how she retold the story - not on what she said about herself. Sagesse makes the point herself in the books when she points out that within families when people tell stories very often what is left out is just as important as what is said.
Absolutely beautiful!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SENSITIVELY AND BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN 19 Oct. 2003
Format:Hardcover
'The Last Life' is told from the viewpoint of 15-year-old Sagesse, a cynical character whose family struggles to find its place in the world -- they are repatriated French Algerians, who try too hard to given themselves an identity.
Claire Messud writes beautifully about displacement and the need to belong somewhere in society -- she knows what it's like to be someone unwanted, and she succeeds wonderfully at capturing the essence of the rising madness that one can suffer when the demons of the past are constantly knocking on the door. Claire sends us on a fascinating and colorful voyage to war-torn Algeria, the South of France and New England. There are many passages that read like postcards, and others that are movingly disturbing.
If you like beautiful prose with a strong and true protagonist's voice, then 'The Last Life' should be on your must-read list. It is a book that will stir you for a long time after you've finished reading it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great book! 11 Dec. 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I have no hesitation is saying that this book is among the most impressive I've read in a long time. After a slow beginning, the novel becomes thoroughly engaging, not just in the remenisces of the likeable, intelligent narrator Sagesse, but also in the presentation of some excellent set-pieces, notably that of Sagesses's father trying to flee from Algeria with the coffin of his recently-deceased grandmother. There's a great deal to recommend in this novel. The characterisation is insightful, the writing very well measured, the tone genuinely philosophical. It has a lot to say about France and Algeria, and about America and Europe too - so that one feels that Claire Messud could write interestingly on any person or subject. She seems an excellent writer with an impressively original view of life, and I look forward to future work from her.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a moving book 13 Aug. 2002
Format:Paperback
I won't comment on the writer's perfect prose but rather on how she perfectly managed to write about feelings which are so characteristic to French Algerians. Their wistfulness, their exuberant but aloof manners, the sentiment that they have not yet completed their journey from Algeria to France and somehow got lost in between - probably into the depths of their beloved Mediterranean sea. This is a story of a shipwreck and its stranded victims, people who were sent away from Algeria and proved incapable to integrate in the new haven provided by their motherland. In this way, this book is a not only a feat of storytelling but a profound description of a collective malaise. Anyone who - as an individual or a member of a minority - has experienced estrangement could read and learn from the Sagesse's experience.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A translation of the world inside 13 April 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I was led to read this novel by an extract I read in "Granta" magazine. I am glad to say I was not disappointed in my decision to actually read this novel. Reading this novel is quite a tireless experience really, since this is a book you can stop reading at any point and then return to it without in any way losing the atmosphere you were immersed in during your last reading of it. This is made possible by the quality of the writing as well as the brevity of most chapters. This is not an exciting book in the sense of providing you with an endless series of thrills so as to sustain an illusion of suspense. Instead, you enter the mind and body of an adolescent girl whose life is affected both by the history of her family as well as the developments taking place still within her family. In a sense this is a story of a family related to the reader in an absorbing way by someone who cannot truly be impartial about the story since she too forms a part of the story. Yet somehow she manages to maintain the distance necessary to allow her to tell this story without getting lost within the whirlwind of her own emotions.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great book? 17 July 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I don't know for certain but this novel seems like it might be a great one. It has such a large, patient feel to it, it moves slowly at your own pace, and is very very truthful about families and about growing up. I picked it up in a shop -- attracted by the cover, actually -- and fell straight into it. I can't get it out of my mind.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book 29 Sept. 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
It's difficult to place this novel: is it American, English, or French? It reads like a mixture of all of them. Anyway, whatever it is, I loved it. Sometimes, Messood is too literary for my taste, the sentences meander a bit. But the meat of the book is brilliant. She's one of the few truly ADULT novelists around today, I think.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book !
A well written book
Interesting and full of imagery
If it's your kind of book you will love it
Just a good story
Published 9 months ago by Janie Oblomov
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't work for me
I am a huge admirer of The Woman Upstairs but felt that this novel lacked its qualities. The first person narrator just wasn't convincing and there was no sense of place. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Norman Housley
4.0 out of 5 stars definitely worth reading
Ideas of destiny vs free will and how much we are shaped by our histories. I enjoyed and was stmulated by this book particularly the deepening understanding of each character that... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Frase
5.0 out of 5 stars A BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN AND BELIEVABLE TALE
'The Last Life' is told from the viewpoint of 15-year-old Sagesse, a cynical character whose family struggles to find its place in the world -- they are repatriated French... Read more
Published on 19 Oct. 2003 by Film Buff
5.0 out of 5 stars SENSITIVELY AND BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN
'The Last Life' is told from the viewpoint of 15-year-old Sagesse, a cynical character whose family struggles to find its place in the world -- they are repatriated French... Read more
Published on 19 Oct. 2003 by Film Buff
5.0 out of 5 stars The best novel I've read all year
This is the kind of novel you can really sink into -- a whole world, with living characters whose conflicts and histories resonate outwards to create something even bigger than... Read more
Published on 22 Sept. 1999
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category