The Last Laugh

Lynn Freed. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25 (208p) ISBN 978-0-374-28665-1
Three “mad old bags,” all pushing 70, pool their resources to rent a house on a Greek island for a year in the drily whimsical latest by Freed (The Servants’ Quarters). Narrator Ruth, a South African transplanted to the United States, has just given up writing a series of detective novels, and pens a magazine column about their Greek adventures called “Granny Au Go Go.” Her half-sister, Bess, devotes herself to shopping and a fling with a local taxi driver, and Israeli Dania, a psychotherapist with a flair for misusing the English language (e.g., “Scrap the bottom of the barrel”), fends off a former patient with blackmail on her mind. Freed juggles a cast of interrelated characters that runs into the dozens, the most notable of whom is Gladness, Bess’s Zulu best friend and the former nanny to her children, and which also includes several former still-hunky lovers. If the various children and grandchildren who pop in and out, testing their elders’ patience, sometimes blur together, the core relationships stay strong, making for a pleasant and diverting read. Ruth’s columns, which occasionally reveal more than she intends about her housemates, add humor. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/08/2017
Release date: 07/04/2017
Genre: Fiction
MP3 CD - 978-1-5414-6520-6
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-1-250-18210-4
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