The Lillian of Alison Jean Lester’s dazzling first novel, Lillian on Life, is a single woman of a certain age. “A woman has so many things to hide after fifty,” she says, and yet at 57, she’s far from demure. In the book’s opening pages, she emerges from bed after a tryst with a married man, confessing to some of the ways she fools him into thinking she’s more like her younger self, a statuesque stunner.
In short vignettes, Lillian looks back, drawing an impressionistic portrait of a bold life full of adventure — erotic and otherwise — in prose spiked with unflinching observations, riotous riffs and poignant reflections.
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