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The Last Talk with Lola Faye by Thomas H.…

The Last Talk with Lola Faye (edition 2010)

by Thomas H. Cook

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1176103,116 (3.61)12
Title:The Last Talk with Lola Faye
Authors:Thomas H. Cook
Info:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2010), Hardcover, 288 pages
Collections:2012, Own, Favorites
Tags:fiction, mystery

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The Last Talk with Lola Faye by Thomas H. Cook



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This was a fascinating look at people's actions, motivations, and how differently people see the same event. This book was recommended by my cousin's wife. Thanks Janet!

Luke, a middle-aged historian, is in St. Louis to plug his latest book. Lola Faye, the woman who worked at his father's variety store in the small town they both grew up in, shows up and wants to speak with him. They adjourn to the hotel bar and slowly start circling around the events leading up to the murder of Luke's father when he (Luke) was an adolescent. I'm not sure how Cook does it, but he manages to get the reader inside the head of both Luke & Lola Faye and we gradually begin to understand that the facts each knows about what happened may not be as close to the truth as they think. ( )
  markon | Dec 28, 2012 |
I like this ending. Very heartfull. ( )
  wankorobo | Jun 19, 2012 |
Do you ever pick up a book, smugly knowing exactly what to expect, and read maybe 100 or 150 pages, getting more and more frustrated because the author is taking so long to get where you know he is going, but you keep going because once he gets there you know it will be worth the wait? And then there are only 50 or so pages left, and you realize the author is not doing what you expected and you realize you probably would have enjoyed the book more had you gone in with no expectations?

Such was my experience with The Last Talk with Lola Faye. I thought it would be a tight, suspenseful mystery with a big reveal at the end. About a quarter of the way in, I had already decided what that big reveal would be and how the story would resolve itself. I wasn’t totally wrong, but instead of enjoying the process of getting there, I was impatient with what I perceived to be Cook’s digressions, mis-directions, and ham-handed way of telling rather than showing. It was only in the last third of the book that I realized Cook was telling a much more subtle story, and that the suspense – the expectation by the reader of some sort of action-based denouement – was actually driven by the careful disentangling of threads.

Last Talk is a dialogue between Luke, a mediocre historian and academic and Lola Faye, an old acquaintance. Years ago, tragedy struck Luke’s family and he has spent years with the ghosts of his past and his certainty about what happened. The novel switches between Luke’s recollections and his conversation with Lola Faye in a hotel bar. Slowly, everything Luke thought he understood is revealed to be based on his own assumptions and biases. What takes the place of Luke’s “truth” is a story of miscommunication, misplaced anger, and missed opportunities. The youthful Luke is a character entirely devoid of sensitivity, empathy or understanding, despite his academic brilliance. The adult Luke is a man frozen in place and numb to the world. Neither one evokes any sympathy in the reader, and the redemptive ending of Luke’s story seems a little too pat and happy.

Despite these flaws, I admire how Cook deftly drew me in and shattered my assumptions and expectations of the story, just as Luke’s are during the course of one evening. ( )
2 vote katiekrug | May 20, 2011 |
Finished this book in about two days - found myself wanting to skim ahead, not because the writing wasn't interesting, but I was DYING to know what happened next, either in the present day St. Louis hotel bar where Lola Faye and Luke convene for this "last talk" or decades ago in the small town of Glenville. A great read. Surprised I've never read anything by this author before. ( )
  vasquirrel | Jan 16, 2011 |
What would you do to get what you want? How far would you go to make someone pay for something they purportedly did? What is the extent of human behavior? That's what Thomas H. Cook delves into in The Last Talk With Lola Faye.

Once Luke's teacher, Ms. McDowell, tells him he has the potential to go to Harvard on scholarship, that's all Luke thinks of. Getting out of Glenville, AL at any cost. Unfortunately, his lofty goals of writing a stirring, emotional tribute to the every day person was never reached. Instead, he is visiting St. Louis, talking to a museum crowd about his latest dull book on fateful decisions in battle.

Lola Faye Gilroy, his father's assistant at the money losing Variety Store is also in St,. Louis, there to kill two birds with one stone, see the St. Louis arch and have a last conversation with Luke. It was presumed that Lola Faye was having an affair with Luke's father, Doug. Her estranged husband, Woody, killed Doug and later himself. While the Sheriff attributed it to murder/suicide, Cook plants enough suspense and innuendo to make the reader wonder.

Luke's and Lola Faye's conversation at the bar in his hotel twists and turns, flashes back to events in Glenville, makes Luke wonder about Lola Faye's motives both then and now. His writing always has this air about it...mystical, meandering, cloudy, ruminating. As the conversation advances, readers will be unsure as to who might have done what.

While The Chatham School Affair, for personal reasons, will always be my favorite Cook book, this and Master of the Delta are right up there. Take every opportunity to read a Thomas H. Cook mystery. ( )
  EdGoldberg | Aug 11, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0151014078, Hardcover)

Middling historian Lucas Paige visits St. Louis to give a sparsely attended reading—nothing out of the ordinary. Except among the yawning attendees is someone he did not expect: Lola Faye Gilroy, the “other woman” he has long blamed for his father’s murder decades earlier.
Reluctantly, Luke joins Lola Faye for a drink. As one drink turns into several, these two battered souls relive, from their different perspectives, the most searing experience of their lives. Slowly but surely, the hotel bar dissolves around them and they are transported back to the tiny southern town where this defining moment—a violent crime of passion—is turned in the light once more to reveal flaws in the old answers. As it turns out, there is much Luke doesn’t know. And what he doesn’t know can hurt him. Trapped in an increasingly intense emotional exchange, and with no place to go save back into his own dark past, Luke struggles to gain control of an ever more threatening conversation, to discover why Lola Faye has come and what she is after—before it is too late.
A taut literary thriller in the gothic tradition of Master of the Delta.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:58 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Historian Lucas Page visits St. Louis to give a reading. Among the attendees is someone he does not expect: Lola Faye Gilroy, the "other woman" he has long blamed for his father's murder decades earlier. Now he must discover why Lola Faye has come and what she is after--before it is too late.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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