Review: The Last Talk with Lola Faye by Thomas H Cook
Quercus, €24.40, Hardback
Luke Paige is a mediocre college lecturer and equally mediocre author of history books. At a sparsely attended reading of his latest book in St Louis he is approached by a woman he had hoped never to see again.
Lola Faye Gilroy had once been the secret lover of his ineffectual storekeeper father and, as far as he was concerned, the destroyer of his childhood and his ambitions. Her jealous husband shot his father dead -- a violent act that precipitated his mother's death shortly afterwards. Paige reluctantly agrees to have a drink with Lola Faye, and eventually they both painfully revisit the tragic events that have shaped their lives.
Thomas H Cook manages to pull off the considerable feat of vividly recounting the story of a violent death that convulsed a small Alabama town and changed the lives of everybody connected with it over the course of a single conversation. Cook is a brilliant prose stylist, and this gripping book is suffused with tension and a pervasive sense of hopes and dreams thwarted by fate and circumstances.