Select one of the keywords
The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal    by Sean Dixon order for
Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal
by Sean Dixon
Order:  USA  Can
Other Press, 2009 (2008)
Hardcover, Softcover

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Elizabeth Schulenburg

The Lacuna Cabal Montreal Young Women's Book Club is not your everyday, run-of-the-mill book club. First of all, they have one steadfast rule - no boys allowed. (Except for Aline, but she doesn't count, because she's about to have surgery to become a girl. And Neil, who doesn't count either, because he's only 10.) Also, in order to truly experience stories, they act them out, recreating various scenes from the books they are reading, to interesting and sometimes disasterous results.

When Runner, whose twin sister Ruby has recently died, suggests a rather unusual and mysterious book as the club's next selection, the group feels like they can't refuse. As the Cabal delves deeper and deeper into the ancient story - The Epic of Gilgamesh - each of its members takes part of the tale to heart, and they embark on an adventure that leads them around the world, into the heart of a war, and the birthplace of a legend.

'We would have followed Missy to the ends of the earth. And we know now that she did go there. To the ends of the earth. Don't say we didn't warn you. The Epic of Gilgamesh starts out as an adventure story about a hero and his friend, but then somebody dies and everything changes, and the hero goes on a long journey, in search of wisdom and the secrets of life. And the Lacuna Cabal Montreal Young Women's Book club is nothing if not thorough.'

The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal is a novel that almost defies description. From its dual-perspective narration that speaks directly to the reader, to its cast of delightfully odd characters - Missy, the Cabal's leader, who wants to get pregnant so desperately that she sleeps with strangers; Emmy, who doesn't want any part of the account, and so is fictionalized by the narrators with striped, glowing skin; Runner, the heart of the group, who is sick but struggling to stay alive for the sake of her brother; and Romy, and Dumuzi, and Coby, and Priya ... - Last Days is a coming-of-age tale, an adventure story, a family tragedy, a romance all rolled into one of the strangest packages ever presented to a reader. And it is utterly enthralling.

'He stood and stood and did not cry. Then he reached down and picked up her hand. Carefully lifted out the cuneiform stone on which it was resting and tucked it under his arm. Then he took off his glasses and put them into her hand. They were just fake glasses. Then he walked around the bed and wend to find his bag by the door, rummaged around inside it until he came up with a small pair of scissors. He took the scissors and cut off a lock of his hair. Just a small one. Then he walked back around the bed again, reached and touched her other hand and then picked it up. Enclosed the lock within her palm. And that was it. He was done. He slipped quietly out of the room and was gone.'

Last Days is a novel that may frustrate some readers - its unusual style and experimental plot would be difficult for those who prefer their books to be more realistic. Additionally, there is liberal use of foul language and some strong sexual content which could make some readers uncomfortable. However, for the reader willing to stretch their boundaries, this novel will offer great rewards. It is funny and touching and challenging and exciting - and yes, rather strange. But I hope you will take a chance, because it's a novel I don't think you will soon forget!

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Contemporary books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews