Tag Archives: Nina de Gramont

THE LAST SEPTEMBER by Nina de Gramont

The Last September by Nina de Gramont was one of my favorite reads of the summer. It’s hard to describe – it’s about the demise of a passionate marriage, but it’s also a suspenseful murder mystery. Brett and Charlie meet through Charlie’s younger brother Eli when Eli and Brett are in college together. Brett falls deeply in love with Charlie, despite Eli’s warnings that he is a womanizer who can’t commit to a relationship. After one night together, Brett doesn’t hear from Charlie again. She tries to move on, getting engaged to another man, but runs across Charlie a few years later (ironically through her fiance) and is simply powerless to resist him.

Meanwhile, Eli is diagnosed with schizophrenia. Brett and Charlie marry and have a baby, but their marriage is always under the cloud of Eli’s disease – the ups and downs, the dangerous episodes and hospitalizations. And Brett remains deeply insecure about Charlie’s love, an insecurity that is proven justified when she discovers that he has had an affair.

The Last September opens with Charlie’s murder, and the rest of the book traces Brett and Charlie’s relationship and marriage. It also eventually deals with the question of who killed Charlie. The obvious choice is Eli, off his meds and out of control, but Brett isn’t so sure.

I really, really enjoyed The Last September. de Gramont’s writing is understated but beautifully detailed. Her characters are flawed people trying to make the best of a really awful situation, finely drawn and utterly realistic. I had a hard time putting this one down. Brett is a tough character to like, in a lot of ways – she’s impulsive and self-absorbed, willing to sacrifice anything to be with Charlie. But if you’ve ever been crazy in love and desperate to be with someone, then you can start to understand why Brett does what she does. I thought the first 4/5 of the book was absolutely perfect, and then took issue with some of Brett’s actions that seemed out of character. But in the end, I still really enjoyed it. There were enough plausible suspects for Charlie’s murder that I was left guessing until the very end.

The Last September also provides a heartbreaking glimpse into the sad effects of mental illness on the afflicted and their families.

Highly recommended for fans of domestic fiction and/or mysteries. The Last September is a beautifully written combination of both.

 

THE GOSSIP OF THE STARLINGS by Nina de Gramont

Here's another Island Bookstore recommendation: The Gossip of the Starlings by Nina de Gramont.

From Daily Candy Boston:

Gossip A friend in need is a friend indeed. But if she smokes weed, rides off on your steed, and steals your beau to do the deed, then there’s a book you gotta read.

First-time novelist Nina de Gramont’s Gossip of the Starlings follows the harrowing friendship between two prep school girls — one the daughter of a famous senator, the other a budding horse jockey. As drugs, clandestine affairs, and family pressures cloud the girls’ judgments, their bond becomes stronger, ironically setting them on a path to alienation and tragedy.

Inspired by the true account of an ’80s drug bust, de Gramont recalls the destructive relationship in graceful, poetic language. She moves the action from the privileged shores of Cape Cod to the seedy streets of Caracas.

Make sure you stick around for the surprising finale.

That’s a little friendly advice.

The Washington Post says, "It's a rare book that draws you into the tiny, idiosyncratic world of its characters so completely, and de Gramont's descriptions are often so vivid you'll want to give them a closer read."

PopMatters gave the book a more lukewarm review, which contains some spoilers.

Anyone out there read this yet?