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The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg


Black Lawrence Press
Bookshop.org to have your local bookstore order and send it to you



Launched in September/October 2014 from Black Lawrence Press, and winner of Black Lawrence Press's 2013 Big Moose Prize for the novel.

Advance Praise

“Ingenious comic author Betsy Robinson, in finely wrought prose, tells the life story of Zelda McFigg. Zelda is a heavyweight, seemingly guided or misguided by a ruinous wrath and the feeling that dishonesty is the best policy. Robinson designs a remarkable pilgrimage for Zelda and uncovers under her many, many layers, a sorrowful affectionate heart.”

Susan Trott, author of The Holy Man series and many other books

“Zelda is an iconic voice of our media-struck age, ferociously trying to rectify the gross injustice of her non-celebrity. A character angry, proud, and desperate to be seen.”

John Sayles, writer and filmmaker

“A thoroughly delightful new novel—in parts funny, tragic, angry, heartbreaking, caustic, absurd and totally all-too true. A comic geshrei from the heart, and pleasure from first page to last!”

—Steve Kaplan, script consultant, author of The Hidden Tools of Comedy

“I couldn’t put it down . . . I was amazed at the originality . . . I enjoyed how Zelda made it through the world. She is a person I’ve never, in my wildest imagination, ever known before.”

Jonathan Storm, former critic for Philadelphia Inquirer

“What a delightful and wild and unpredictable narrator! Zelda McFigg is as original and intriguing as her name. I root for her during all the unexpected turns. I laughed a lot — which I rarely do reading fiction. Zelda McFigg is a classic — a totally compelling and unforgettable character!”

Patty Dann, author of Starfish, Mermaids, and many other books

“In the deft, witty, highly conscious hands of novelist (and theatre veteran) Betsy Robinson, the excruciatingly wild ride of The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg becomes an act of seduction. (And Zelda thought she was writing a memoir!) Never staying in one place too long, which is more than can be said of its anti-heroine, Zelda, the novel's tone is as reliably unreliable as all of its scarred characters. If there is really nothing to hang on to, it must be a little like life, or death, or trying to create something. Betsy Robinson is alive, and kicking.”

Estha Weiner, poet and teacher

“I loved this novel! The writing is glorious, the vocabulary a delight to follow. I laughed—I rooted, I could not put it down. It's unique and funny and odd and beautiful. Two writers have made me laugh out loud: Martin Amis and David Sedaris. Now Betsy Robinson!”

—Maureen Phillips, TV producer

“Wonderful three dimensional characters who will be remembered long after the last page is read.”

—Devin McKay, deputy chief librarian, Queensborough Community College

“A rollicking romp. The development of the characters seems true to life in a demented sort of way, and involves more than one ironic twist. In an off-the-wall style reminiscent of Vonnegut and Brautigan, Robinson interjects many 'where-did-that-come-from moments' into her book. You scratch your head, and then you smile.”

—John Volkman, librarian, Fresno schools



Who’s Zelda?

Cousin to Ignatius J. Reilly (A Confederacy of Dunces) and Homer Simpson, Zelda McFigg believes she could have been somebody, if only someone had recognized her inner beauty and star quality. She runs away from home at age 14, and at age 49 ¼ writes this furiously funny memoir to “set the record straight.”

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