Michele Roberts

She Finds Herself

The Last Life

By

Picador 348pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Writing a work of fiction in the form of an autobiography or a memoir means that the author can stretch the shape in original ways. So Sagesse LaBasse, the narrator protagonist of Claire Messud’s highly accomplished second novel, not only informs us of her perceptions, inner life and surroundings, but also fills us in, very much like the traditional omniscient narrator, on the past history of her family as well. Purporting to have gained her knowledge from tales repeated by her parents and grandparents, Sagesse (remember Françoise Sagan’s Bonjour Tristesse? – here’s a descendant) pieces together several faintly shaming and shabby episodes from the 1950s onwards. In the process, she discovers her true ancestry, grows up and comes of age.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Who is Bibi, and why does he simultaneously arouse such admiration and antagonism?' A review of the newest biograp… ,
    • RT : Joseph Brodsky had a story about about one marathon Fidel Castro speech that was so tedious and repetitive it spark… ,
    • Here's reviewing Rachel Kushner's novel about a woman caught in the injustice of the US prison system,… ,
    • 'Hart sets out to unsettle, startle and disturb. In this strange, disconcerting, radical version of a strange, disc… ,
    • Here is @MannJessica's June crime fiction round-up, discussing books by Georges Simenon, Jack Grimwood,… ,
    • John Stubbs reviews Stephen Greenblatt's latest, 'Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power' ,
    • RT : What happened when US military strategist Herman Kahn - one of Kubrick’s three models for Dr Strangelove - took LSD… ,