Synopses & Reviews
A witty new novel about three self-proclaimed "old bags" who run off to a Greek island
Since their children left home, Ruth, Dania, and Bess have grown used to living wonderfully free lives. Only now they're beset by children again--this time, their grandchildren. In order to escape, they decide to run away to Greece together for a year.
At first, settled on a glorious island, barefoot and contented, they think they've rediscovered the wheel. But then things begin to go awry. Dionysus, a local poet, takes up with Bess, at least until his wife gets wind of things. Dania, a therapist, is being stalked by one of her patients. And Ruth's ex-lover turns up out of the blue, closely followed by the man who lost Bess her fortune. It doesn't help when the children and grandchildren also start turning up whenever they feel like it. As Bess writes in one of Ruth's weekly "Granny a Go Go" columns, this is not an Enchanted April sort of year.
Lynn Freed's previous novels have received rave reviews everywhere from The New York Times Book Review ("Makes us laugh while packing, finally, a punch"), to the Los Angeles Times Book Review ("Deeply absorbing and ambitious . . . Astonishingly vivid"). In The Last Laugh she returns with a beautifully written and funny novel about money, sex, friendship, and the pleasures and perils of children.
*A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice*
From the award-winning author Lynn Freed, who's been called a "literary star" by The New York Times Book Review, comes a hilarious and brilliant new novel about the riotous, passion-filled adventures of three women who thought they were past their prime.
To escape their griping grown children, husbands and lovers, and an abundance of grandchildren underfoot, three self-proclaimed "old bags," Dania, Ruth, and Bess, head for a quiet island on the Aegean Sea. They'll spend a year by the water--watching the sunset, eating grilled fish and fresh olives, sipping ouzo. They deserve it, they say. After all those years, the three women will finally have some peace.
Except that they can't. For one, Bess, a pampered, once-beautiful inheritress, falls swiftly into an affair with a poetry-writing taxi driver--who has, of course, a territorial wife. And Dania, a therapist, begins to receive an increasing number of cryptically menacing phone calls from a psychotic patient. An ex-lover of Ruth's shows up unexpectedly, right before one of Bess's does--and then the women's children arrive, with their own demanding children in tow. As the island quickly becomes crowded, the women's serene year in Greece devolves perilously, and uproariously, into something much more complicated.
With the wit of Maria Semple's Today Will Be Different and all the adventure of Deborah Moggach's The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Lynn Freed's The Last Laugh is at once wildly funny and deeply perceptive, an exuberant story of friendship and pleasure, family and love.