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The Last of Her Kind    by Sigrid Nunez order for
Last of Her Kind
by Sigrid Nunez
Order:  USA  Can
Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

To me, the hallmark of a great novel is when I forget that what I'm reading is indeed fiction. Sigrid Nunez accomplishes this in her latest, The Last of Her Kind, which reads like a memoir.

The story revolves around the relationship between Georgette and Ann, college roommates at Barnard in 1968. Ann, despite being born into wealth, is a champion of the underprivileged and gets caught up in the American politics that defined the 1960s and 1970s. Ann rejects her family's wealth and in fact, holds her parents in contempt. Georgette, from whose perspective the novel is told, hails from a completely opposite background. Despite their differences, or perhaps because of them, the two form an unlikely friendship, which ends abruptly several years after college.

While Georgette is recounting her life in these pages, Ann remains in her thoughts. Georgette doesn't see Ann for a while and keeps busy trying to protect her mentally unstable sister, Solange. Georgette has two failed marriages along the way.

Years later, Ann is imprisoned for killing a police officer while trying to protect her African-American boyfriend. Ann's beliefs in her own politics never waver while in prison, and she continues to speak out and act on behalf of less fortunate prisoners. Geoergette's final meeting with Ann gives her the closure she needs to move forward.

With captivating prose and realistically drawn characters, Nunez captures the essence of the Vietnam Era in an entertaining and compelling fashion.

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