Twenty-five years ago and counting, Louisa, my true, essential, always-there-for-everything friend, died. We were 22.
When Anita Lahey opens her binder in grade nine French and gasps over an unsigned form, the girl with the burst of red hair in front of her whispers, Forge it! Thus begins an intense, joyful friendship, one of those powerful bonds forged in youth that shapes a person’s identity and changes the course of a life.
Anita and Louisa navigate the wilds of 1980s suburban adolescence against the backdrop of dramatic world events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall. They make carpe diem their manifesto and hatch ambitious plans. But when Louisa’s life takes a shocking turn, into hospital wards, medical tests, and treatments, a new possibility confronts them, one that alters, with devastating finality, the prospect of the future for them both.
Equal parts humorous and heartbreaking, The Last Goldfish is a poignant memoir of youth, friendship, and the impermanence of life.
Reviews and Endorsements:
“Anita Lahey writes about friendship and loss with nimbleness and grace. Her memoir brings back to life what illness and death took away.”—Elizabeth Hay, author of All Things Consoled: A Daughter’s Memoir
“For all who secretly understand that friends are family comes Anita Lahey’s heartwrencher, The Last Goldfish . . . Journalist-poet Lahey’s sublimely empathic eye and piquant sense of humour, especially in matters of love and death, make this a gentle, generous, and stunning book. You’ll remember these brave friends.”—Molly Peacock , author of The Paper Garden and The Analyst
“Lahey creates two teenage girls with such novelistic skill that you’re instantly pulled into their lives and back to adolescence itself, the exuberance and intensity . . . This book is true in the way a carpenter uses the word, for an oak plank that is perfectly and exquisitely honed, and will bear the weight.”—Joan Thomas, author of Five Wives
“Lahey is a writer of extraordinary gifts, evoking the world of two raucous schoolgirls growing up in the 1980s in astonishing, at times laugh-out-loud funny, detail . . . Lou couldn’t have asked for a more stalwart, loyal friend than Anita Lahey; we couldn’t ask for a more acutely observant and empathetic writer.”—Moira Farr, author of After Daniel: A Suicide Survivor’s Tale
About the Author:
Anita Lahey's books include The Mystery Shopping Cart: Essays on Poetry and Culture and two Véhicule Press poetry collections: Spinning Side Kick and Out to Dry in Cape Breton. Anita is an award-winning magazine journalist, past editor of Arc Poetry Magazine, and serves as series editor of the annual anthology, Best Canadian Poetry. A former resident of Toronto, Montreal, Fredericton and Victoria, she maintains fierce familial ties to Cape Breton Island and lives in Ottawa with her family. She grew up in Burlington, Ontario, in a house with a huge backyard a short bike ride from Lake Ontario.