A dazzling story about marriage, forgiveness, and chances not taken, by the bestselling author of Body Surfing and A Wedding in December.
At a literary festival a poet named Linda Fallon meets for the first time in years a fellow poet, Thomas Janes, whose fame has grown during a decade of seclusion.
This is no chance meeting. Thomas saw that Linda was scheduled to appear, and chose this moment to re-establish contact with a woman he had passionately pursued years earlier. Their affair was disastrous for them both, a turning point in their lives, and the damage they did in those years still haunts them both.
THE LAST TIME THEY MET moves backward in time from Linda at age 52 to explore her life years earlier, at age 26, and still earlier, at 17. Anita Shreve examines the extraordinary resonance a single choice, even a single word, can have over the course of a lifetime.
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. 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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Last time we met
Great story line.
The Last Time They Met
NOT your usual love story plot! Loved it can't wait to read it again!
All time favorite
My all time favorite book. It pulled me in, broke my heart, made me love the characters as if I knew them personally. The ending in breathtaking!!!