Title: The Last of Her Kind.
Author: Sigrid Nunez.
Genre: Fiction, coming-of-age, literature, cultural studies.
Publication Date: December 27, 2005.
Summary: Ann Drayton and Georgette George meet as freshmen roommates at Barnard College in 1968. Ann, who comes from a wealthy New England family, is brilliant and idealistic. Georgette, who comes from a bleak town in upstate New York, is mystified by Ann's romanticization of the underprivileged class, which Georgette herself is hoping college will enable her to escape. An intense and difficult friendship is born. Years after a fight ends their friendship, Ann is convicted of a violent crime. As Georgette struggles to understand what has happened, she is led back to their shared history and to an examination of the revolutionary era in which the two women came of age.
My rating: 9/10
♥ O mother of the thinning hair, the mouth set always in a peevish line. O weary, battered mother of the bulging veins, the harrowing periods, the throbbing molars, and the spastic back. I do not remember a time when you did not look worn.
♥ Like most city neighbourhoods, that one has gone through many changes over the years, but a few of the old places remain. They are places I would not enter casually today. Even friendly ghosts can stop hearts.
♥ Ann had once complained to me that her parents looked like figures in a wax museum. And so they did, in a way. But so did most people in that room, and so to the eyes of youth did just about every middle-class white person over thirty - perhaps because to our minds they were figures in a museum.
♥ I have decided that nostalgia is itself a kind of love.
♥ And the more time passed, the more certain she was that she could never go home again. (I have never found the absolute fixation of that famous runaway, Dorothy, on hurrying back from over the rainbow entirely convincing. It does not fit with the imagination of any child I have known.)
♥ "Are you a political prisoner, Dooley?"
Her blue eyes, immense now in her gaunt face, turned a pitying gaze on the reporter who'd asked her this. "Yes," she said. "And so are you."
♥ People I used to see and speak to every day - who'd have dreamed their features could ever be so vague, that even some of their names would be a struggle to conjure. (I wonder: if we knew how much was going to be lost, would we pay more or less attention to our lives?)
♥ Forced to be apart from them all day, I would have resented missing so much of their lives - as many working mothers do resent this. And possessive though I was, I believe that, in the end, spending all that time with them actually made it easier when I had to let them go. Not that this was ever easy. The day Jude followed Zoe into school was a day of panic and mourning. I thought of the time our neighbour's cat had her five kittens taken away, and how she went back and forth between her basket and the laundry basket until she'd assembled a litter of five socks.