- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Algonquin Books; Reprint edition (July 5, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1616206098
- ISBN-13: 978-1616206093
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 62 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #745,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Last September: A Novel Paperback – July 5, 2016
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"With an artist's eye and a poet's heart, de Gramont realizes a world of love, mystery, and the shattering sorrow of mental illness, deceit, hope, and lives cut short. Impossible to put down." —Library Journal (starred review)
"The Last September is a wonderful early fall read. As a picture of a marriage struggling under the weight of expectation and mental illness, it is nearly flawless. De Gramont should be proud.” —New York Journal of Books
“A moody murder mystery . . . De Gramont's latest boasts lovely, understated writing, sharply drawn settings--Boulder, Amherst, and Cape Cod--and, once again, characters who are irresistibly attractive, flawed, and dangerous . . . But it is also an emotionally intense study of how a transcendent love becomes a fraying marriage . . . A fine literary whodunit from an accomplished storyteller." —Kirkus Reviews
“Brilliant rendering of love story, murder mystery, pitch-perfect study of horrific 'ordinary' mental illness, and that rare coming of age novel that deals with adults, who actually do come of age in the most difficult ways. I was hooked by the first paragraph, which somehow contains all the beautiful, luminous grief of the whole story, and I truly did not want to let it go in the end.” —Brad Watson, author of Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives
“The Last Septemberis a wonderful, glowing book populated by characters that become a part of your life long after the last page has been turned. It is the type of novel writers admire and readers long for.” —Jason Mott, author of The Returned
“Nina De Gramont’s The Last September portrays an immediately gripping world of secrets, trauma, and conflicting loyalties. Spanning mental illness, the meaning of family, and the lengths we go to for love, this novel begs to be read in a single sitting. . . A literary novel of both suspense and emotion, this flashback-filled murder mystery has broad appeal.”—Foreword Reviews
“Nina de Gramont writes excellent characters and a dazzling storyline involving mental illness, family, infidelity, relationships, love and murder.The Last September is one of the best books I’ve read this year. It’s a masterful mediation on relationships.”—Entertainment Realm
“A convincing and suspenseful novel, well-written, precise, and poignant in its depiction of human nature in dire distress.” —Sheila Kohler, author of Dreaming for Freud
“The Last September is a riveting emotional puzzle that takes readers inside the psyche of a woman facing the meaning of love and loyalty.”—Story Matters
“A highly readable novel, the emphasis here is on a troubled marriage and not the murder mystery.”—Swiftly Tilting Planet
“Full of poignant prose, a brilliant presentation of Eli’s illness and the toll it takes on his family, and a plot that ebbs and tides with the ocean and sand dunes, The Last September in non-put-down-able. Sleek and elegant, The Last September is a must read.”—The Review Broads
From the Back Cover
“Convincing and suspenseful . . . precise and poignant in its depiction of human nature in dire distress.” —Sheila Kohler, author of Dreaming for Freud
“That rare coming of age novel that deals with adults, who actually do come of age in the most difficult ways. I was hooked by the first paragraph, which somehow contains all the beautiful, luminous grief of the whole story, and I truly did not want to let it go in the end.” —Brad Watson, author of Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives
“The Last September is a wonderful, glowing book populated by characters that become a part of your life long after the last page has been turned.”—*Jason Mott, author of The Returned
“An emotionally intense study of how a transcendent love becomes a fraying marriage . . . [with] characters who are irresistibly attractive, flawed, and dangerous . . . A fine literary whodunit from an accomplished storyteller.” —Kirkus Reviews
Praise for Gossip of the Starlings
“De Gramont’s debut novel is the kind of smart and riveting read the fans of a certain kind of campus drama—think Donna Tartt’s The Secret History—will devour.” —People
“A transfixing debut.” —The Washington Post
“Stunning . . . I inhaled this novel in one breath.” —Jacquelyn Mitchard
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Top customer reviews
On a positive note, the author can WRITE. Her descriptions and sense of place were terrific and the dialogue was very natural. I love when an author places the reader solidly in the locale. This was largely set on Cape Cod, a place I know and love. I wish the ending had been more resolved. I drew my own conclusions, but then I thought I sensed where things were heading a few chapters back. What if I was wrong?
I do look forward to reading another book by Nina de Gramont.
Brett, Charlie, and their baby girl live in a home on the Cape that belongs to Charlie's father, who prefers Florida's coastline. Charlie's brother Eli
is also a part of their lives. He was Brett's best friend before she met Charlie, and they have shared many experiences, both joyful and
The book alternates between the present and the past, which I found to be occasionally distracting, but it clarifies many aspects of
how the three main characters arrived at their current circumstances. I do not want to give details and spoil the book for potential readers, so I will not outline any more of the plot.
The characters who populate The Last September are likeable. I got attached to them and Ms. de Gramont's skilled development of their
personalities made their pain seem very real, as if all of it was happening to a beloved friend. The other outstanding aspect of Ms. de Gramont's writing is her description of schizophrenia and her obvious empathy for anyone suffering from mental illness.
I recommend this book, but be prepared : you may find that finishing the book does not necessarily finish your ties with the characters.
The book has stayed with me since I completed it, and that doesn't happen all that often. Enjoy.
Brett, a college freshman, falls for Charlie, the brother of her best friend, Eli. For Brett, it was love at first sight and lust at first sight. Charlie doesn't call and he doesn't write. Eli says he tried to warn her that Charlie was a womanizer. Brett doesn't care and she doesn't forget. After graduating from college, Brett becomes engaged to Ladd after a few years of dating. As plot device would have it, Ladd's family has a summer home on Cape Cod right next door to .... you guessed it, Charlie's family. At the first Charlie sighting, Brett goes off with him and breaks her engagement. After meeting Charlie once, Brett's mother makes her promise that she will not marry him. Of course, she promises and then she marries Charlie anyway.
Brett is working on her PhD in English literature. Charlie is unemployed and probably unemployable as his only skill appears to be cooking. Brett wants Charlie, she gets Charlie and their daughter, Sarah, is born. Sarah works as a professor and Charlie hangs around the house. They don't talk about anything as they have nothing in common. Brett adores Charlie and, since women always adore Charlie, he's used to it. What is difficult to understand for the reader is exactly what it is that makes Charlie irresistible as he has nothing, really, to recommend him?
Eli, Charlie's brother, is now an institutionalized schizophrenic and in his brief periods of lucidity, he comes to stay with Brett and Charlie. Although this was merely annoying before Sarah was born, Brett begins to not only resent the fact that Charlie is Eli's caregiver outside the hospital, but that Charlie fails to see how this could be dangerous, especially for Sarah. Charlie is unmoved. Irresponsible in every other situation, Charlie is there for Eli. Although Brett is the breadwinner, she moves to a friend's with Sarah when Eli takes up residence with Charlie.
In her continuing effort to remake Charlie into her image of him, Brett persuades him to open a restaurant, although neither of them know anything about running a business. Restaurants employ hostesses and Charlie hires lovely Deirdre. Brett, aware of Charlie's personality, apparently lives in la la land as she is not the least suspicious about this arrangement. Before long, the restaurant is failing and Deirdre is falling for Charlie. And, like many women before her, she dreams that she and Charlie will ride off into the sunset together, leaving Brett and Sarah behind. Charlie, caught, professes his love for Brett and, because he is her dream man, she takes him back. The author, unfortunately, fails to "sell" the case that Charlie is irresistible as he floats through the action life a puff of smoke.
Rather than simply breaking it off with Deirdre when Brett faces the facts, they close the restaurant and move to the beach house for the summer... where, you guessed it, Ladd is in residence. At this juncture, a life-altering event occurs which cannot be discussed without spoiling it for a riveted reader. It is at this point where this reader stopped being interested in Brett, Ladd, or Charlie. The most interesting characters in this book, by far, are Sarah, the winsome two year old, and the dog, Lightfoot.
Sarah is everything her mother is not: playful, funny, and feisty. Brett, who started out a plucky college freshman, becomes needy and duplicitous. None of the characters in the second half of this book act in ways that make any sense whatsoever. Brett in real life would probably be heavily medicated and bedridden, given her situation - instead, she decides to rifle the drawers in her host's bedroom. Safely locked in her bedroom, Brett is terrified. The next minute she is alone in the dark placing herself in mortal danger. Bah.
Brett loved Charlie and only Charlie from the time she first became a woman. Even after he'd left her, even after he betrayed her, Brett loved Charlie. Brett abandoned the safe life for the kind that burns both ends of the candle.
What is left when the candle burns out? The beginning of the rest of the story.
Most recent customer reviews
Not a difficult read but not very fulfilling.