The Last Time They Met by Anita Shreve

The Last Time They Met by Anita ShreveLinda and Thomas are former lovers who meet for the last time at a writers convention in a distant city. Thomas has a reputation as one of the best poets in his generation, although his poems are blunt and twisted. His marriage has fallen apart after the death of his daughter in a boating accident. Linda writes dreamlike, contemplative poems which are also popular. She has two grown children and is now a widow. The two characters hold their somewhat self-conscious reunion at the opening of the novel, which then proceeds to flashback over their previous encounters during the 35 years since they first met. There is quite a bit of shared history, including some adultery, a reference to a car accident, and time spent in Kenya. Slow paced at the start, the book picks up speed and crams most of the action into the last few pages.

What the Armchair Critics Thought:
There were mixed opinions about this book. Some felt that the characters and romance were real and gripping. The part set in Africa was especially heart-wrenching. Others felt that the ending of this novel was a calculated gimmick which cheapened the entire book. Why rush the ending? And why was the book written from Linda’s perspective in the first place?

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