Told through three unique interwoven narratives, this novel reimagines a chapter in the life of Sylvia Plath, telling the story behind the creation of her classic, semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar.
... highly readable, entertaining...the novel is an ingenious addition to an ever-growing body of work about Plath that has helped make her an American literary icon ... Expertly woven together, the three storylines tell one story ... Last Confessions is not without its missteps, including factual errors and misrepresentations ... In the end, though, Last Confessions captures larger truths, such as the place Plath has come to occupy in the literary canon.
Last Confessions is framed as a literary whodunnit of sorts ... While that premise certainly drives the narrative and comes to a satisfying conclusion after a slow-to-build start, it isn’t what creates the pulse of the novel. Where Kravetz really stirs up the magic is in his depictions of the interplay between madness and art; Plath’s gnawing loneliness and insecurity; and Rhodes’ ever-present quest for attention and recognition ... Literary history-savvy readers might also enjoy the myriad based-on-truth Easter eggs hidden throughout ... Is all of Last Confessions true? Of course not. It’s fiction, after all. But Kravetz makes good use of history’s rich material to spin a captivating story about some of the art world’s most notorious writers and thinkers.
An intricately plotted literary thriller ... It’s a great premise, but the poetic structure — three voices and three timelines echoing the three notebooks — can at times get in its own way. The auction, for example, is spread out over so many pages that it loses some of its drama, while Rhodes’s self-cannibalizing jealousy infuses so many of her chapters that she teeters on becoming tiresome and shrill. But while the mystery is at times too tricky for its own good, the book is lifted by Kravetz’s supple writing. Plain but beautiful, he turns the ordinary poetic ... Throughout, this graceful prose is put to good use, framing meaty questions about the commodification of art — and the artist ... [A] deft debut.