The Last Woman

Publisher: Emblem Editions
In the heart of cottage country in Ontario, bordering on a native reservation, Ann and Richard are confronted with the abrupt reappearance after ten years of a local man, Billy. His presence once again in their lives brings back powerful memories and rekindles old conflicts, love, and a betrayal, as each of their past and present stories gradually unfolds during one 1980s summer. Containing all of the elements for which The Island Walkers was celebrated, The Last Woman envelops us in Bemrose’s flawlessly crafted and complete world, where each character is unforgettably alive and real, and the land itself breathes its own story into our hearts.

From the Hardcover edition.


The sun suffers through a cloudless sky. Week after week, it pulses from shoreline rock, floods the lake with glare. New reefs have surfaced – sullen herds strewing the channels – while in remote bays, floating carpets of lily and arrowhead have given way to flats of dried mud.
To some cottagers,...
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1. The novel begins with ideas about change and stability, between the fear that climate change is real and the hope that life at the cottage will always stay the same. It ends with the same ideas, with Ann’s thought that her life now is less stable, but open to the "subtle flux – the deep current of...

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“Bemrose offers us nothing less than a template for embracing the core of life’s meaning….”
Globe and Mail

“John Bemrose’s characters […] live as real people live: contradictory, capable of kindness and disdain, of near-simultaneous love and hate, of gross betrayal….”
Times Literary Supplement

"The Last Woman's greatest success is its near-Tolstoian unfolding of the psychology of love triangles." 
The Walrus

"Once again, [Bemrose] is writing with poise and authority...." 
Globe and Mail

"Lush and poetic, polished and crisp."
Quill & Quire

"Toronto journalist and playwright John Bemrose's second novel, a solemn sketch of rural Ontario race relations, seems tailored for entry into the CanLit canon."
— Toronto Life

From the Hardcover edition.