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Last lovers
Wharton, William.
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New York : Farrar, Straus & Giroux, [1991]

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InLast Lovers, William Wharton gives us his most intimate look yet at the ways each of us can be drawn away from love, creativity, and innocence, and at the forces that, when we are lucky, bring us back.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Wharton sees artists as spiritual warriors who are impelled to escape the restraints of domesticity and employment and attempt to fathom life's essence. In Scumbler, his sixtyish, expatriate painter-hero wanders all over Paris in a decrepit Honda, scouting out scenes to paint, and entering into all manner of adventures with abandon. In Last Lovers, Wharton presents us with yet another American in Paris, Jack, who at age 49 has walked away from his lucrative corporate career and troubled marriage to return to his first love, painting, only to find a last (and lasting) love with a much older woman, whose blindness makes his art making all the more poignant.

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this touchingly whimsical tale darkened by the undercurrent of a serious parable, Wharton ( Birdy ; Franky Furbo ) explores moments in which sexuality and art intersect. As in Wharton's previous novels, the protagonist is an artist, here, American expatriate painter Jack, 49, who is recovering from a broken marriage and years of scrambling in the corporate rat race. Now penniless, Jack subsists as a squatter in a Paris attic and paints in a public square, where he meets Mirabelle, a blind, 71-year-old, self-appointed pigeon lady who cares for the birds who flutter about his easel. Between Jack and Mirabelle springs a friendship that deepens into an improbable but impassioned sexual union. Mirabelle's blindness is psychological; its sudden onset occurred at age 14 when her mother committed suicide. While their love is often heavily belabored (``In your blindness you taught me to see,'' Jack tells her), it does produce miracles. Difficulties arise when Jack's wife wants him back, but Mirabelle's frailty in the end helps him solve his dilemma. Jack's bizarre homage to Mirabelle at the story's close somewhat redeems the novel from sentimentality. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

``Believing is seeing,'' proclaims Wharton in the epigram to this charming novel, and he then proceeds admirably to prove it. Jack is a fiftyish American in Paris. Having abandoned a too successful career and the family life that went sour because of it, he aims to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a painter. A chance meeting with a blind old lady--she inadvertently crashes into his easel--helps him realize his dream. For Mirabelle is a remarkable woman who, though hysterically blind since witnessing her mother's suicide as a child, nevertheless demonstrates a penetrating comprehension of the world. As the newly dubbed Jacques tries to describe his paintings to Mirabelle and she tries to describe her memories of a Paris she has not seen for years, he learns to see in a new way. Their friendship eventually blossoms into a tender yet physically passionate love far removed in its thoughtful depiction from the standard erotic entanglements of contemporary page and screen. The story may seem improbable, but Wharton makes us believe--and see. Highly recommended.-- Barbara Hoffert, ``Library Journal'' (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.