4.25 am, 5 August 1962, West Los Angeles Police Department 'Marilyn Monroe has died of an overdose', a man's voice says dully. And when the stunned policeman asked 'What?', the same voice struggled to repeat 'Marilyn Monroe has died. She has committed suicide.'
If life were scripted like the movies, this extraordinary phone call would have been made by the most important man in Marilyn Monroe's life - Dr Ralph Greenson, her final psychoanalyst. During her last years Marilyn had come to rely on Greenson more and more. She met with him almost every day. He was her analyst, her friend and her confessor. He was the last person to see her alive, and the first to see her dead.
In this highly acclaimed novel, Marilyn's last years - and her last sessions on Dr Greenson's couch - are brilliantly recreated. This is the story of the world's most famous and elusive actress, and the world she inhabited, surrounded by such figures as Arthur Miller, Truman Capote and John Huston. It is a remarkable piece of storytelling that illuminates one of the greatest icons of the twentieth century.
Michel Schneider has written on psychoanalysis, Baudelaire, Proust, Schumann and Glenn Gould. His essay collection, Morts Imaginaires (Grasset, 2003), won the Medicis Essay Award, and Marilyn's Last Sessions was the winner of the Prix Interallie. He lives in France. Will Hobson's translations from French and German include the Goncourt Prize-winning The Battle by Patrick Rambaud, The Collector of Worlds by Iliya Troyanov and Being Arab by Samir Kassir, which won the Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Award 2007. He is the author of The Redstone Inkblot Test and A Household Box: Knock Knock! Who's There? We Are!.
* Intimate, inventive and heartbreaking -- Hanif Kureishi * Riveting ... Tender, provocative, brimming with perception -- Lisa Appignanesi * Schneider ... writes Monroe so authentically that you often forget this is simply his imagined version of the last four years of her life ... A joy' Psychologies * Schneider does Marilyn the justice of granting her a certain degree of dignity and an intuitive understanding of her own demons -- Sarah Churchwell New Statesman * Marvellous and insightful, a real vision of human delicacy, and one of the international novels of the year -- Andrew O'Hagan * Fiction can tell the truth, and Michel Schneider imagines and writes these last sessions with great insight. At the end of the book Marilyn is still iconic, but also, mysteriously, much closer -- Marie Darrieussecq * An extraordinary marriage of scholarship and storytelling that reminds us that Marilyn Monroe was a living complication of a woman and not a series of blinding attributes. An absolute triumph -- Carol Topolski * A fascinating blend of fact and fiction. This is one of the major events of the literary season. Lire * This is the edifying roman noir of Marilyn Monroe's latter years. the very beautiful Marilyn: Last Sessions is an unprecedented portrait of a shooting star. Les Inrockuptibles * Psychoanalysis and the darkened screen have never seemed so close. Schneider's novel is made in the image of his heroes: larger than life, tortured and downright unique. Evene * Read Michel Schneider's fascinating Marilyn: Last Sessions. Drawn from the very weird relationship between Marilyn and her bizarre psychoanalyst, Ralph Greenson, it is a terrifying story, a life-and-death race between money, cinema and the desire not to know. Le Journal du Dimanche