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14 Reviews
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly gorgeous!!
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...
Published on 11 Oct. 2002

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A translation of the world inside
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...
Published on 13 April 2001


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4.0 out of 5 stars definitely worth reading, 24 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: The Last Life (Kindle Edition)
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 unfolds as we learn of the events that shaped them
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN AND BELIEVABLE TALE, 19 Oct. 2003
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This review is from: The Last Life (Paperback)
'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.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SENSITIVELY AND BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN, 19 Oct. 2003
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This review is from: The Last Life (Paperback)
'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.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN AND BELIEVABLE TALE, 19 Oct. 2003
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This review is from: Last Life (Hardcover)
The setting of 'The Mark of the Angel' is in Paris, 1957. It's a story of two people from different backgrounds (she is German, he is French) who meet and marry. But the recent past of World War II and the current rising violence, which eventually leads to the independence of Algeria, shape the attitude of these two characters into a disastrous climax.
The seemingly simple style of this story could make some readers believe that it's just a 'pulp romance' novel -- there are, however, layers of psychological levels to the characters and a complexity in the way setting and storyline are entwined together that make this novel far from being simplistic or a 'pulp romance' novel. Saffie, the female protagonist, is a difficult character to read -- and agreeably unpleasant at times -- and that's why makes the story even more intriguing; we are not dealing with nice and 'normal' cardboard cut-out characters, where everything is beautiful and everyone holds hands at the end of the story.
This book is not a lovely love story, but a character study on how war tears down the fabric of human nature, how it effects everyone for years to come, even for genertations to come -- it a story about confusion, betrayal, jealousy and revenge. Nancy Huston has done a wonderful at showing how difficult it can be to deal with the world around us, and how sometimes human behaviour can be misinterpreted by those who live in a protected world.
'The Mark of the Angel' is a disturbing tale of passion and survival, which makes the reader reflect on the humand condition long after the book has been read. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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The Last Life
The Last Life by Claire Messud
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