Last Orders - Vintage International Author:Graham Swift Four men gather in a London pub. They have taken it upon themselves to carry out the last orders of Jack Dodds, master butcher, and deliver his ashes to the sea. As they drive towards the fulfillment of their mission, their errand becomes an extraordinary journey into their collective and individual pasts. Braiding these men's voices, and that o... more »f Jack's widow, into a choir of sorrow and resentment, passion and regret, Swift creates a testament to a changing England and to enduring mortality.
"Swift has involved us in real, lived lives...Quietly, but with conviction, he seeks to affirm the values of decency, loyalty, love."--New York Review of Books
"A beautiful book...a novel that speaks profoundly of human need and tenderness. Even the most cynical will be warmed by it."--San Francisco Chronicle« less
Bought this book based on the cover and Amazon reviews. Before last month, I had never even heard of it. What a little gem! Swift makes great use of working class British dialect, and the character development is deep and perfectly paced. With each chapter, a little bit more is revealed, a layer is unraveled in the complex intertwining of these four friends/acquaintences (they are more deeply connected than previously thought, often through tragic or scandalous events). The action takes place over an afternoon, but the book covers 50 years. Got through it in a week. Great find, happy to keep it on my bookshelf.
This book is a gentle meditation on a group of people and how their lives interact. The book is about 4 working-class men on their way to scatter one of their friend's ashes at sea. We learn about their pasts together, the ways they impacted one another's lives, their thoughts and feelings about life and death and love and family. It's set in Britain, and the language is of working-class British whose slang doesn't hide their very real emotions and struggles. I thought this book was wonderful, and I am looking forward to reading more books by this author.