Cover image for The last time they met : a novel
Title:
The last time they met : a novel
Author:
Shreve, Anita.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Little, Brown, [2001]

©2001
Physical Description:
313 pages ; [25] cm
Language:
English
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.9 15.0 69438.
ISBN:
9780316781145

9780316781268
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

From the last time Linda and Thomas meet, at a charmless hotel in a distant city, to the moment, thirty-five years earlier, when a chance encounter on a rocky beach binds them fatefully together, this hypnotically compelling novel unfolds a tale of intense passion, drama, and suspense. The Last Time They Met is a singularly ambitious and accomplished work by one of today's most widely celebrated novelists.


Author Notes

Anita Shreve grew up in Dedham, Massachusetts. After receiving a bachelor's degree in English from Tufts University, she taught high school English for five years before becoming a full-time author. She worked for an English-language magazine in Nairobi and wrote for everything from Cosmopolitan magazine to The New York Times. Her nonfiction books included Remaking Motherhood and Women Together, Women Alone. Her novels included Eden Close, Strange Fits of Passion, Where or When, Fortune's Rocks, Rescue, Stella Bain, and The Stars are Fire. Several of her books were made into movies including The Pilot's Wife, Resistance, and The Weight of Water. She died from cancer on March 29, 2018 at the age of 71.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The author of The Pilot's Wife (1998) moves the major characters in this novel back and forth in time and place, from a Toronto literary festival in the present, to their first meeting in high school, to an encounter in Kenya. In between, Thomas and Linda have both moved on, married others, had children, and become distinguished writers. More importantly, they have both endured tragedies that have etched their lives with pain. As readers ponder these events, the question becomes, Is there any satisfaction for Thomas and Linda in seeing each other again, or are the memories too heavy, too tragic? By examining the past and the present from both viewpoints, particularly Linda's, Shreve gives us a bird's-eye view into what might have been, what was, and what is. As events slowly unfold, her character's lives seem destined to intertwine. Although the ending may seem magical to some, it may be shattering to others. A worthy, readable novel that reaches its conclusion all in good time. --Marlene Chamberlain


Publisher's Weekly Review

The latest work by this versatile novelist (The Pilot's Wife; Fortune's Rocks) may be her most mature to date, as she demonstrates new subtleties in the unfolding of a complex plot. Proceeding in reverse chronological order, Shreve recounts the obsessive love between poets Linda Fallon and Thomas Janes; theirs is a highly charged affair, though they connect only three times in 35 years. The novel's three sections ("Fifty-Two," "Twenty-Six" and "Seventeen") refer to Linda's ages when she meets and later encounters Thomas first (last in the book's structure) as a troubled teen near Boston with "only indistinct memories of her mother and no real ones of her father"; then in Kenya, where Linda has joined the Peace Corps and Thomas's wife, Regina, is working with UNICEF; and finally at a literary festival in Toronto where both characters, unbeknownst to each other, are guest speakers. Though each of the novel's segments is intensely powerful, the cumulative effect is especially wrenching, as the reader knows what Linda and Thomas have yet to experience. Their Africa encounter is especially gripping, since both characters are torn between their mutual passion and their love for their spouses. (Linda has also married, and Regina's announcement of her pregnancy adds further tension.) Shreve's compassionate view of human frailties a recurring theme in much of her work is at its most affecting here, as she meticulously interweaves past and present with total credibility. Her fluid narrative perfectly mirrors her protagonists' evolving temperaments and viewpoints, while her overall restraint serves to intensify the novel's devastating conclusion. (Apr.) FYI: The film version of Shreve's 1996 novel, The Weight of Water, starring Sean Penn and Elizabeth Hurley, is due in theaters later this year. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Shreve is one of those rare novelists whose prose is just as remarkable as her storytelling. This new work picks up the character Thomas Janes from Shreve's The Weight of Water (LJ 10/15/96). (He is the husband of narrator Jean.) We learn the history of Thomas's great love with fellow poet Linda Fallon. The novel is told in reverse time, starting with the present, when Linda and Thomas, now in their fifties, reconnect at a literary festival. The middle section takes place in Africa, where the couple, then age 26, had a disastrous affair that horribly affected a number of loved ones and changed their own lives forever. The intensity of Africa's vibrant texture and color heightens the passionate drama. And the last section, during high school, takes place in New England, where Thomas and Linda launched their life-long obsession with each other. While the backwards progression is confusing at times and can necessitate some rereading, it is time well spent. The tragic relationship of these two connected souls will stick with you for days. Oprah-pick Shreve does it again with this achingly emotional novel. Stock up. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/00.] Beth Gibbs, formerly with P.L. of Charlotte & Mecklenburg Cty., NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.