by Julie HaleJanuary, 2007
The Last of Her Kind
Nunez's new novel examines the upheaval of the 1960s and its effects on the lives of two very different women. The year is 1968, and Ann Drayton and Georgette George find themselves rooming together at Barnard College. Ann comes from a well-to-do family, while Georgette has working-class roots. A passionate idealist, Ann sheds her privileged lifestyle in order to become a political activist, while Georgette struggles to come to grips with her bleak family history, which includes drug use and alcoholism. Both women drop out of school and go their separate ways. Years later, Ann makes national news when she is arrested for killing the policeman who shot her boyfriend, an African-American intellectual. Ann owns up to the crime without remorse, igniting a controversy that sweeps the country. Ann's actions, the convictions that lead up to it, and the mood and spirit of the 1960s are the subjects of this complex, well-constructed novel. Georgette, whose life unfolds in a more traditional manner than that of her old friend she's a magazine editor, mother and wife serves as an intelligent and articulate narrator for this poignant story. Nunez writes beautifully about two women in search of themselves, and the diverging paths they take in life. A reading group guide is available online at www.picadorusa.com.