Brazen, candid, and always willing to take chances, the unnamed and not entirely trustworthy narrator of The Last Night at the Ritz celebrates her birthday with three old and dear friends. Two of them, Gay and Len, are a long-married couple and her best friends from college. The third, Wes, was once her lover.
Organizing a luncheon at Boston’s esteemed Ritz Carlton—an old favorite of the group’s—the narrator expects the occasion will be an excellent chance to catch up with her friends and enjoy each other’s company. But almost immediately upon arriving at the hotel, she senses things are different, though she can’t quite put her finger on what’s wrong. Even the Ritz has changed, no longer displaying the lion—its trademark symbol of hospitality—on its ashtrays.
As the afternoon gives way to evening and as the drinks flow, the past and present intrude upon the festivities and the atmosphere turns somber. Before the night is through, truths and secrets slip out that will change their relationships forever.
Back in print for the first time in a generation, The Last Night at the Ritz, a masterfully written novel of friendship and love and the ways we deceive each other and ourselves, is quite simply unforgettable.
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"They met in college. Doesn't everyone? Now, in middle age, they meet in the bar at the Ritz. One drinks Dubonnet, but the others drink for real as their intertwined histories are carefully revealed. Although the book was published 40 years ago, the deft descriptions of relationships, women's sexuality, and parenting still beg to be read aloud."
Denise (5 out of 5 stars)