Title: Last Things
Author: Offill, Jenny
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York
Publication Date: 1999
Edition: First Edition
Book Condition: F
D-j Condition: F-
Comments: Negligible shelf wear on d-j.
Synopsis: A spare, bewitching debut that explores the delicate line separating science from myth and creativity from madness. Last Things tells the story of Grace Davitt, an eight-year-old girl who lives with her family in a small lakeside town in Vermont. Her mother, Anna, an ornithologist, once saw a monster in this lake, which she believes may be a dinosaur that has somehow escaped extinction. Each morning, she photographs the dark water, hoping it will reappear. To Grace, the monster is more evidence that the world is full of mysterious things most people will never see. From her boy-genius baby-sitter, she has learned about invisible black holes from which no one can escape. From her mother, she has heard about the hyena men of Africa who devour their wives in their sleep. From The Encyclopedia of the Unexplained, she has learned about children raised by wolves and men who suddenly burst into flames. It is only Grace’s father, a dedicated rationalist, who teaches her that the world is, in fact, well ordered and reasonable. For him the only truth is science, and, increasingly, he finds himself shut out by Anna as she draws Grace deeper and deeper into a strange world of myth and obsession. Touching on extinction, madness, the breakdown of family, and, intriguingly, the way science can encourage contradictory readings of the world, Last Things will surely be hailed as one of the most assured and lyrical first novels of the year.