February 02, 2014

The Last Nude

the_last_nude_cover_small.jpgThe Last Nude

Ellis Avery

Riverhead Books 2012


Ellis Avery is a professor in the Writing Program at Columbia and was a guest speaker at the

group’s December 2013 gathering. In fact Professor Ellis did more than give us a talk. She

actually read each of the ten submissions for that day’s session and joined in the critiques.

Ellis Avery also conducts writing workshops at her home in Greenwich Village.



Wordcraft at its Best

Amazon.com review by Ralph White

Among the many reasons to read this book is Avery's wordcraft. 

  • "I could feel the ghost weight from the pearls I'd sold lift a little from my neck."
  • "His odor was a smothering blend of cologne, cognac, and brilliantine, with fainter notes of urine, bleach, and loneliness."
  • "What did he see when he saw me? It was as if my body were a sign pinned to my own back, a sign I myself couldn't read."
  • "The smile she gave me in reply was not a French smile: it was butter-cream frosting, spread with a trowel."
  • "Tamara's dog, gloomy as an exiled monarch, nosed at me once or twice before settling onto his cushion to doze."
  • "Tadeusz Lempicki wore his clothes with an air of being too good for them."


And this is in the first sixty pages. As if a love story set in Paris in the 1920s wern't enough, Ms. Avery populates it with the most famous denizens of the era and then gives them thoughts and dialog which compel the reader to go back and enjoy them again. 

You may enjoy The Last Nude's love story; you may enjoy its Paris, or its celebrities, but you will definitely be captivated by its wordcraft.