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The Last Girlfriend on Earth and Other Love Stories Paperback – 27 Jun 2013
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Simon Rich is outrageously, lavishly gifted (Caitlin Moran)
A James Thurber for our times, in Borges' suit wearing Flann O'Brien's hat (Ian McMillan BBC Radio 3 The Verb 2013-02-15)
Brilliant: a kind of modern version of Woody Allen's Without Feathers for anyone who's been in love ... topsy-turvy imaginative, riotously funny, hugely insightful ... Rich has a wisdom about male-female interaction that most have to wait far, far longer than 28 years to gain. (Tom Cox Observer 2013-03-03)
A collection of sweet stories full of whimsical, gently moving tales of love and loss, thwarted come-ons and doomed crushes... Put it in your pocket and take it out whenever you need a five minute break from the tedium of everyday. (Lynn Enright The Gloss 2013-01-01)
Most original and highly amusing. Rich manages to turn the banal into the absurd... hilarious and touching... and impossible to put down. A perfect cheer-up for the romantically challenged! (Rachel Glover Image 2013-01-01)
The Last Girlfriend On Earthis silly, surreal, sometimes sad and always laugh-out-loud funny. This collection will have you giggling/crying/squirming in recognition, and wondering what exactly Simon Rich has eaten to dream all this stuff up ... This collection pulls off the tough trick of being both heart-warming and hilarious -it's a must-read if you've ever so much as had a crush on someone (Heat 2013-02-02)
Pithy, occasionally bonkers... expect any weeping to be of the laughter-induced variety (David Clack Time Out 2013-02-05)
Truly hilarious (Observer Eva Wiseman)
There are many episodes to enjoy ... The scenarios are satisfyingly wide-ranging ... an irreverent pleasure. (Frank Brinkley Literary Review 2013-04-01)
A laugh-out-loud collection of short stories about that crazy little thing called love. (Vogue Australia 2013-04-01)
If you buy only one quirky, surreal collection of comedy short stories about relationships this year, make it Simon Rich's The Last Girlfriend on Earth ... an endlessly inventive, laugh-out-loud book ... It's fairly spooky that Rich, though still in his 20s, has such telling and very humorous insights into the shortcomings and sensitivities of the male psyche ... this is a one-night stand you will definitely want to tell your friends about. (Jewish Chronicle 2013-04-11)
The Last Girlfriend on Earth had me giggling out loud (Emma Sells ELLE 2013-05-01)
A quirky and amusing collection (Julian Fleming Sunday Business Post 2013-06-30)
The Last Girlfriend on Earth shows off Rich's special talent for finding emotional truth in surreal premises (Hugh Montgomery Independent on Sunday 2013-08-04)
The Last Girlfriend on Earth and Other Love Stories by Simon Rich is my holiday reading recommendation. Read it on the plane with caution - you will laugh so loud people will think you're having some sort of episode. (Lauren Laverne ELLE 2013-11-27)
Rich is arguably the wittiest American humourist of his generation. (Ryan Gilbey Guardian 2013-07-17)
Who said all's fair in love?
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But I'm unimpressed with the number of books, shows and scripts coming out with Nice-Guy-Can't-Make-Good syndrome and this is basically another offer of what's starting to feel like too-trodden territory. At the heart is a middle-class urban guy with a touch of 'loser' mindset who whines about not being able to find girlfriends and score with women, while feeling ambivalent toward, cheating on, and criticising the women who actually want to be with him. Here there's good reason - basically every girl represented, with the exception of the one at the beginning, a first love who is never described, and the one at the end who offers better Relationship Contract Terms, is a soul-eating harpy who wants to manipulate, entrap, and otherwise ruin the life of Nice Guy Main Character. In many of the stories Rich takes this very literally, making women into man-eating sirens, sentence-wielding prison guards, alien sex gods who will only come to Earth to sleep with taken men, and actual trolls to be fought off with sticks on the worst of blind dates. The women who aren't literal embodiments of evil are either clingy, 'pudgy', less-than-porn star quality girls who (horror) attempt long-term relationships with the Nice Guy Main Character, or beauties who withhold, cuckold, fleece, and trade him in for better models. There's really no middle ground, unless you count the girl who attempts relationship counselling with her boyfriend only to be 'fixed' by an electrician who reprogrammes the 'malfunctioning' girl to ensure she never asks him to attend therapy again. The dream of the programmable woman is old territory, bad 80s sci-fi, but without the quirky innocence that made it charming the first time around, it starts to seem downright sinister.
Maybe this is the point, and maybe the relentless approach does have an advantage. When Rich's male characters do give in to a moment of non-self-pitying sentimentality, it's all the more disarming. In the stand-out story 'The Present', a time-travelling scientist who realises he can't make his girlfriend happy ponders his final gift to her. It's a moving, mostly blameless story of two lovers who can't find a way together, and it hits where others miss.
Most of these short stories are nevertheless fun, and would make great concepts for Match.com ads. But in a book purportedly about love, they start to feel like a queasy assault against something never fully described or understood.
Anyway, he's very talented and anyone could enjoy this book. It also reminded me to listen to the magnetic fields, I used to like that album!
It isn't really stories, more like sketches.
In The Last Girlfriend on Earth, Simon Rich brings all of these situations and many more to life in hilarious detail. It's the kind of short story collection where it's impossible to read just one story at a time: there's always another tale of love gone zanily awry waiting to grab your attention. Rich has crafted thirty-odd delightful vignettes that explore the thoroughly peculiar results that love can have in a person's life. Whether it's falling in love, being in love or losing love, Rich will manage to see the funny side. The Last Girlfriend on Earth is an excellent collection of bitingly humorous tales of passion, love and loss that should bring cheer to even the hardest heart.
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