Last Chance Saloon - Reviews

Irish Tatler

Marian Keyes has done it again - she opens her bag of tricks and a wondrous assortment of characters pop out. Instantly recognisable, externally wry, dysfunctional and endearing - thinking the thoughts you are thinking. All bound up in the author's palpable enthusiasm for setting their scenes in an intelligent, entertaining style.

Welcome to a less than perfect world you want to be part of. Fintan, Tara and Katherine, whose bond has stretched from rural County Clare to cosmopolitan London and whose life patterns have changed little. Of course it's all about to change.

When the novel opens the characters think they are out for a birthday lunch, but in fact they have just come through the swing doors of the Last Chance Saloon - the doors only swing one way.

For the characters are all thirty-something and their hedonistic, thoughtless days are numbered. They face a hedonistic future where each day is numbered with the guilt that they have not yet grown up and become responsible. Katherine, the ice maiden, drives a powder blue Karmann Ghia and lives an existence so ordered even her chaos is compartmentalised. Fintan is gay, sick, losing weight and in love with Sandro, an Italian Pony bred with a Shetland - he's short but he's loyal to his love. Tara is fat, getting fatter, has not spent five minutes on her own since she turned 16 and realised that boyfriends stop you from being alone.

Lorcan is about to come into their lives. He has a shock of red hair, he is Godlike. One of them knew him before and he almost destroyed her. Read on.

Marian Keyes works her usual magic in her fourth book which deals in love, friendship, food (lots of it), sex (even more of that), heartbreak, loneliness, death - delivered to you with enduring laughter.

The dialogue could be stolen for stand-up. A weight obsessed woman who won't swallow after oral sex, a group of advertising executives who sit around discussing the merits of Geetex, a new tampon which men will want to buy by the time they're finished promoting it.

The tone is unashamedly mainstream without being formulaic. There is a terrific sense of freedom and lack of inhibition in the writer which allows the reader to read in the same fashion.

Marian Keyes has flashes of brilliance and all the hallmarks of durability. Her writing sparkles and the world is a better place for her books.

Publication: Irish Tatler

Library Journal

Dublin resident Keyes, author of the popular Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married and other novels, treats her audience to another fun read. Years ago, three friends from a small Irish town started new lives in London. Now in their early thirties and feeling as if they are in the "Last Chance Saloon" of relationships, they are finally growing up. Accountant Katherine is still recovering from a long-age broken heart and has completely sworn off men. Tara constantly struggles with her weight and lives with a man who treats her horribly. Their best male friend, Fintan, seems to be having the best luck: not only is he in a happy relationship with a man but he also has a great job as a fashion designer. When a serious illness afflicts Fintan, the three friends are forced to re-examine their lives thus far and make some big changes. Keyes draws readers in from the beginning, and a sassy closing twist clenches the story. Readers of her previous novels will agree that Keyes' prose is nicely progressing. Her best book yet, this is highly recommended for public libraries.