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Ladies' Lunch: and Other Stories

Ladies' Lunch: and Other Stories, May 2024
by Lore Segal

Melville House
ISBN: 1685891012
EAN: 9781685891015
Kindle: B0BYMK3WJD
Paperback / e-Book
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"Vignettes designed to resonate with the reader"

Fresh Fiction Review

Ladies' Lunch: and Other Stories
Lore Segal

Reviewed by Sandra Wurman
Posted May 20, 2024

Women's Fiction

Lore Segal has the gift of gab and so do her characters. I often found myself participating in their dialog. Almost as if I were there, reminding them they forgot a detail. Doesn’t that seem so awesomely real? Well, that is how LADIES LUNCH is. Jam-packed with vignettes. Cleverly designed and created to transport you into these characters’ lives.
 
It often feels like an inane conversation. You know the type you have to fill time, but there is a sense of humor and warmth that appears in the dialog between these older folk. They all have a somewhat dubious, questionable connection. And we are often handed bits of their lives when they were students at university. Before and after marriage. And of course their attendance at parties, which for the most part turn out to be Shivas.
 
Shivas are the respectful visits one pays when someone has died. The period the family reflects on memories, both good and bad. But in deference to the recently deceased and their family, the emphasis is on positivity.
 
For these octogenarians, these memories are segmented into various months and occasions. Some details are as vague as their memory. But usually pushed aside for an interesting revelation.
 
Lore Segal views these characters with respect and at times reverence. As we age we can often see ourselves or people in our group much like the ladies who lunch. LADIES LUNCH is a view of these folks’ lives, and their conversations will move you at times in unexpected directions. I am past my prime, so to speak, and each new section pinged a new memory. A lost friend. A neglected relationship. A chart of life.
 
Reference to the Holocaust was inevitable as some of these older characters faced different realities. Memories can become vague with time and yet many have a life of their own. Scenes of characters seated in a circle looking to find a way to forge some understanding between those who had suffered due to the Holocaust and those related to the cause of the suffering are stark and real. Those of us who had relatives who somehow survived the Shoah can readily identify with the angst in that circle. The dialog hits home. Chills appeared on my arms.
 
Reading about this time in world history, and yes the entire world had a part in these horrors, is difficult and some would rather it just go away. But then the past creeps into the present and it is inevitable to compare. Lore Segal blends two worlds poetically at times. But there are events, scenes, and encounters that will indelibly change you. Perhaps it is regarding growing old, some graceful others not so. Or with those that didn’t have that chance.
 
Not sure if you can call LADIES LUNCH entertaining but rather enlightening and unforgettable. I feel that was the author’s goal. Crafted as a series of short stories Lore Segal serves up a buffet of events that will captivate the reader. I admittedly was brought to tears by the dialog among these characters. So real. So important. LADIES LUNCH is an important book, never more relevant than right now.

Learn more about Ladies' Lunch: and Other Stories

SUMMARY

The New Yorker's Best Book of the Year!

Beloved New Yorker writer Lore Segal, at 95-years-old, is a national treasure. Working at the height of her powers, in this story collection she turns her gimlet eye and compassionate humor on aging and life in the slow lane.


From the master of the short short comes a collection of 16 new stories featuring old friends who have loved and lunched together for over 40 years. These erudite, sharp-minded nonagenarians offer startling insights into friendship, family and aging.

Can the group organize a visit to one of their number in her new, and detested, assisted living situation? Is this a fabulous party with old friends, or a funeral reception? And does who was sleeping with whom, way back when, still matter?

In story after story, Segal's voice is always hilarious and urbane, heartbreaking and profound, keen and utterly unsentimental, as she tackles aging's affronts.


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