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The Last Girl

A Novel

Stephan Collishaw

St. Martin's Press

For a full hour I sat at my desk and stared up at the two photographs. One by one I smoked a packet of twenty Prima cigarettes.... The earth, I felt, was beginning to shift, and the long dead were stirring.

In the closing days of the twentieth century, an elderly writer wanders the streets of Vilnius, Lithuania, possessed by the need to photograph the young mothers of the city. In their faces and the faces of their children he sees the reflection of a secret that haunts him. A secret he has spent years trying to bury.

In a decaying back street of the city a woman struggles to raise her family. As her son dreams of a better life she is torn between Vilnius' twilight world of prostitution and her determination of securing hope for her children. She too is haunted by memories that rob her of sleep.

In Vilnius the rubble of the Jewish ghetto lies side by side with the fallen statues of communist heroes. Through this tangled debris of past and present the story of the writer's great love and his even greater betrayal begins to coil its way to the surface and demands to be told, in The Last Girl by Stephan Collishaw.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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Chapter One

I smoked the cigarette down to the very nub, until it almost scorched my lips. Through the blue veins of smoke I glimpsed her as she walked down the narrow alley. In her arms she held a child. My insides wrenched, suddenly, sharply. She held the child so tight against her breast. It was that, perhaps, that caught a ladder in my heart.

The café was called Markus and Ko. I had been reading the poems of Marcinkevicius.


I love you with hands black from crying,
I love you with darkness and death
forgetfulness and light
with the low grass on
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Stephan Collishaw

  • Stephan Collishaw lives in Nottingham and is a teacher. He was awarded an East Midlands Arts Bursary for The Last Girl, which is his first novel.
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The Last Girl

A Novel

Stephan Collishaw

  • e-Book

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

St. Martin's Press

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