Last year at the Key West Library we held our first One Island One Book program — and if I do say so, as a member of the staff, it was a great success. We chose Ernest Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not, a novel set in Key West in the 1930s, and had lots of rousing discussions, presentations, a screening of the film (even though its plot bore almost no resemblance to that of the novel) and, as a capper, the designation of the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum in Key West as a National Literary Landmark.
This year, we’ve decided to do it all over again — with a different book, of course. We’ve chosen another novel set in Key West, this one more contemporary and with an author who is still alive, still in Key West — and who will appear at the Library for our Cafe Con Libros group to discuss the novel as the progam’s finale. Our choice is The Last Resort by Alison Lurie.
Lurie is a longtime Key Wester and this is actually her second novel set here — the first was The Truth About Lorin Jones and when people ask me for a Key West novel, that’s always the first one I recommend. The Last Resort is more recent and tells the story of a woman married to a much older, successful man who has basically made serving him her life’s work. Until he gets depressed and withdrawn one winter, and she suggests they repair to Key West and … well, you should read the book to find out what happens.
To find out more about Lurie, check her website — which, I was extremely touched to see, suggests finding her books at your local library, even before it suggests purchase, which is an extremely generous and civic-minded gesture on the part of a writer.
We have lots of copies of The Last Resort in the Library’s collection — as of this writing most if not all are checked out but it’s a quick read so if you request a copy, you shouldn’t have to wait long. I have it on good authority, too, that they have a good supply of them at a good price at Key West Island Books, so that’s another option.
The program starts March 9 with a discussion of the book by Cynthia Crossen, who writes the Dear Book Lover column for the Wall Street Journal, lives in Key West and is vice president of our own Friends of the Library. We are blessed indeed with our literary community on this little island. For more information on events, keep an eye on the Library website’s Key West page or check the One Island One Book blog. You do not need to have a Monroe County Library card to attend events at the Library.