I read a lot of Marian Keyes this summer. Having heard that she was the 'new Maeve Binchy' and the 'queen of chick lit' I had to try her out. Much as I have been enjoying her writing, I take execption to the two titles that led me to her in the first place. The first: Sure, she and Maeve Binchy are both female Irish writers, that's about where the similarity ends. Binchy's work often flows from and older Ireland into the new. A lot like having a cup of tea and a good chinwag with an old friend, a delightful way to spend the afternoon. Marian Keyes' work delves into a more modern Ireland, or Irish who are now living elsewhere, such as London or New York. Her subject matter is a lot darker too. She does not flinch at drug addiction, death, or marital infedelity which leads me to the second: her work is not fluffy chick lit at all. The covers and marketing of her books may look that way, but there is no rambling heroine who stumbles through life. Any of these at some point must face their own harsh realities.
Last Chance Saloon follows a small friend group. The main 3 grew up together in Ireland moved to London as young adults. Tara currently lives with her terrible boyfriend (and he really is terrible). Katherine spends much of her life being perfect, alone. Fintan has found true love and lives the dream life. But as life often does, something happens that will change all of them and leave them questioning their own happiness and way of living. The serious subject in this book is cancer and Keyes does a nice job of not sugar coating the reality of this disease. She gives a very honest portrayal of how the disease affects both the carrier and those who who love him.