Life and love lessons as told by sassy narrator Lillian as she looks back in this brilliantly written, bold debut.
Lillian, a single, well-travelled woman of a certain age, wakes up next to her married lover and looks back at her life. It’s not at all the life she expected.
Walking the unpaved road between traditional and modern options for women, Lillian has grappled with parental disappointment, society’s expectations and the vagaries of love and sex. As a narrator she’s bold and witty, and her reflections – from ‘On Getting to Sex’ to ‘On the Importance of Big Pockets’ or ‘On Leaving in Order to Stay’ – reverberate originally and unpredictably.
In Lillian on Life, Alison Jean Lester has created a brutally honest portrait of a woman living through the post-war decades of change in Munich, Paris, London and New York. Her story resonates with the glamour and energy of those cities. Smart, poignant, funny in the vein of The Best of Everything while being wholly original, Lillian on Life is as fresh and surprising as fiction gets.
Lillian on Life tells the story of a young woman’s life as she grows through to middle age. We get a glimpse into Lillian’s world in a very frank yet romantic way. We see the growth of young lady to woman through her travel and sexual awakening and exploits.
I liked Lillian on Life, it was written in a strangely companionable style, like you were sharing a night of secrets and girl chat with an old friend. It felt at once both familiar and surprising and kept me reading on to find out all the fascinating things that Lillian had done in her life. Lester has created a likeable heroine and an enjoyable story.
What is really clever about the way in which Lillian on Life has been written is that it could quite easily translate to stage or screen. It has an interesting historical quality along with modern themes and the birth of the modern woman. If cast correctly (i.e. get Jane Seymour to play Lillian) then it could be wonderfully adapted.
Lillian on Life by Alison Jean Lester is available now.