The Last Girl by Stephan Collishaw
A Novel

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For a full hour I sat at my desk and stared up at the two photographs. One by one I smoked a packet of twenty Prima cigarettes.... The earth, I felt, was beginning to shift, and the long dead were stirring.

In the closing days of the twentieth century, an elderly writer wanders the streets of Vilnius, Lithuania, possessed by the need to photograph the young mothers of the city. In their faces and the faces of their children he sees the reflection of a secret that haunts him. A secret he has spent years trying to bury.

In a decaying back street of the city a woman struggles to raise her family. As her son dreams of a better life she is torn between Vilnius’s twilight world of prostitution and her determination of securing hope for her children. She too is haunted by memories that rob her of sleep.

In Vilnius the rubble of the Jewish ghetto lies side by side with the fallen statues of communist heroes. Through this tangled debris of past and present the story of the writer’s great love and his even greater betrayal begins to coil its way to the surface and demands to be told.

About Stephan Collishaw

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Stephan Collishaw lives in Nottingham and is a teacher. He was awarded an East Midlands Arts Bursary for The Last Girl, which is his first novel.
Published January 1, 2003 by Sceptre. 320 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Last Girl

Kirkus Reviews

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Steponas eventually finds himself on the trail of the book, but the man who has it wants a hundred dollars for it, and when Jolanta shows up with a bruise it all starts to feel like noir with a smart subtle subtheme of a country losing its sense of aesthetic in favor of a fledgling mob-style capi...

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The Guardian

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You also feel that Steponas's devotion to Rachael - so pivotal here - is never sufficiently visceral, never quite earned.

Mar 22 2003 | Read Full Review of The Last Girl: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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The final third of the novel brings these threads together as it takes the reader back to late 1930s Vilnius, where Steponas befriends Rachael, the Jewish woman, shortly before the Nazi invasion.

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