The Last Talk with Lola Faye

Thomas H. Cook, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Penzler 25 (288p) ISBN 978-0-15-101407-1
In this tightly coiled, intellectual drama, Cook (The Chatham School Affair) unwinds a marvelously tense story of belated redemption. While in St. Louis for a book tour, Luke Page, a middle-aged writer of lackluster histories, agrees to meet with a long-forgotten acquaintance, the “little hayseed tramp” he believes triggered a bloody tragedy that befell his family decades earlier. The story alternates between Luke’s recollections of his hometown; the “heady ambition” of the despicably cruel, contemptuous younger Luke, who wants to go to Harvard and gets swept up “in the lethal tide of [his] own grand dream”; and the numb, disillusioned academic who sits down for a drink with Lola Faye Gilroy. A vertiginous precipice eventually materializes in front of Luke, who must finally confront the true nature of his father’s heinous murder and its equally tragic aftermath. The younger Luke is without a doubt one of the more convincing modern villains, a single-minded overachiever devoured by raging oedipal loathing and equally consumed by narcissistic ambition. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 04/26/2010
Release date: 08/01/2010
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