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Last Orders

Last Orders [Kindle Edition]

Graham Swift
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

From the author of Waterland and Ever After, Last Orders is a quiet but dazzling novel about a group of men, friends since the second world war, whose lives revolve around work, family, the racetrack and their favourite pub. When one of them dies, the survivors drive his ashes from London to a seaside town where they will be scattered, compelling them to take stock of who they are today, who they were before and the shifting relationships in between. Both funny and moving, this won the Booker Prize in 1996.


'Inspired... His finest novel yet' Guardian 'Tragic, comic and wonderfully compassionate' Daily Mail 'A triumph... A novel that unflinchingly contemplates human perishability, and that also pays unsentimental tribute to human resilience' Sunday Times

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 456 KB
  • Print Length: 306 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0679308571
  • Publisher: Picador (26 Jan 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003GK22MA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #13,022 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Graham Swift - Last Orders 27 Feb 2010
By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER
The vernacular is fantastic! A truly wonderful working-class novel, like Love on the Dole or Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, but much much more than that. It's a rumination on death, life, love, parenthood, childhood, work; in other words, the lives that all of us live, everday. I love the switch-and-cut narrative (as good as his Waterland), and, of course, most especially the various narrative voices. The every-day man doesn't need elegies, he has the words and rhythms honed down through generations. It is a perfect, perfect example of how every-day speech can be powerful and beautiful. A wonderful novel, that leaves you at significant risk of being more than significantly moved!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Last Orders - Graham Swift 5 Aug 2013
I really enjoyed Last Orders by Graham Swift. It's the story of a group of working men from London carrying out the last wishes of a London butcher Jack Dodds, who wants his ashes scattered from Margate pier. We are told the story from the points of view of four of his friends who carry out this last wish, and later from the viewpoint of his wife, Amy.

Last Orders is a clever title: "last orders" was the time last drinks could be bought in the days before unrestricted drinking was allowed in England, and these friendships are based around The Coach and Horses, an East London pub. The friends who carry out Jack's last orders also share jobs on an English high street - the dead man was a butcher, and one friend an undertaker - a nice ironic juxtaposition that is played out thematically in the novel. Other links include shared experiences of the desert war (39-45), and certain infidelities and romantic entanglements that add complexity and an edge of feeling to the relationships.

The story takes place in one day but the memories of the characters stretch across the second half of the twentieth century; they show the frustrations and failings of ordinary people, but also their loyalty and friendship. It's a book of great sadness, with comic interludes, and characters that are engaging and sympathetic, very real and human - full of frailty and weakness.

Swift captures the narrative voices of these characters in a series of short chapters. Don't look for a handy resolution, but enjoy the vibrant dialogue and the sense of lived experience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Puzzle from Graham Swift 3 Dec 2002
Format:Audio Cassette
Last Orders is a novel that asks the reader to make sense of some of the puzzling actions of the main charactors. It is a story that is related through the consciousness of those main charactors and revolves around the 'last orders' of a Bermondsey butcher regarding the final disposal of his ashes.
Four of his old drinking and business pals accept the responsibility to scatter his ashes from the pier at Margate and the story spans their day from the start in 'The Coach and Horses' to the completion of their task.
His wife, who is also a key charactor in the novel, declines to join the party because she has her own pilgrimage to make to a hospital where their daughter has been a patient for many years. She says that the ashes are bing thrown from the wrong place, anyway.
For me, the secret to the novel, the final piece to the jig-saw puzzle, is understanding why the wife considers that the ashes are being thrown from the wrong place.
The book is full of colour and memories of South East London from war time to the present day, and has humorous and tragic portraits of the main charactors.
I recommend that it must be read at least twice. Only after the whole picture has been seen in the first reading is the full detail understood up in the second and subsequent readings.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More than just a simple story 7 Jun 2002
By A Customer
This is more than just a simple tale of a group of friends taking their friend's ashes to the sea-side. I found it so poignant and moving that I could hardly bear to read the last scene. It's about the big issues in life and how chance can change your whole destiny. It's also about regret and lost opportunities, love and, obviously, death. Each character is beautifully drawn. Ray, the 'lucky' gambler is a 'litte ray of sunshine', Vic, the undertaker, the only one not afraid of death, is the 'Victor' - even the characters' names mean something. It's probably the sort of book you need to read more than once to fully appreciate, but it well deserved the Booker prize and I would recommend it to anyone (as long as you're not expecting to laugh!)
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This was the first title I have read by Graham Swift, but has inspired me to seek out all his other titles. It is a tale of four friends, their intertwined lives and loves, spread over a fifty year period commencing in World War Two. As with all the best books, Last Orders has realistic and human characters in whom readers will take a genuine interest.
The story is ostensibly based around a journey undertaken by three of the men (with a friend) to scatter the the fourth original member's ashes in the sea at Margate. Although similar to Faulkner's 1930 "As I Lay Dying", Swift's novel is none the less a great book in its own right.
If you like novels with strong characterisation and a genuine, touching story, I strongly commend "Last Orders" to you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On pilgrimage to Margate... 12 July 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed the understated beauty of this book. The intertwined lives of a group of friends are explored through their journey to Margate to scatter the ashes of one of their number. Issues of living and dieing, loving and leaving, winning and losing, simple pleasures and long-lived tragedy are played out within the group. It is thoroughly believable at every turn (with the possible exception of Lucky's luck on the horses...). It is not a book filled with happy endings, but it does demonstrate our human capacity to keep on going.

Last Orders won the Booker Prize and is one of the more accessible and down to earth winners. Highly recommended.

I wasn't very far into this book when I started to get the sense that I knew the story... Gradually it dawned on me that years ago I watched the film adaptation starring Michael Caine and Bob Hoskins. Time to look for the film again!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Part of the joy was the slow pace
Part of the joy was the slow pace. A nice book well written and showing an impressive depth of compassion and great build up of characters. Read more
Published 16 days ago by JJH
1.0 out of 5 stars Unskilled structuring of dialogue
He said ""
I said ""
He said""
Oh dear! Put off the book within a few pages through the poor way in which dialogue is structured. Read more
Published 1 month ago by John McK
3.0 out of 5 stars I found it a bit tedious and rather struggled to finish it
Last Orders - Not really my kind of book. I found it a bit tedious and rather struggled to finish it. Although there were Interesting links between the characters.
Published 2 months ago by Avid reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Reality revisited
A sensitive and unsettling look at life and missed opportunities. A wake up call for every reader to look at what you perseve yourself to be what is real and what self serving... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mrs. Janice Holmes
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Accurately observed, well-constructed, beautifully written. The dialogue makes you feel you are actually taking part in the story. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Josef
2.0 out of 5 stars Slow burner.
There are some interesting parts to this book, but I am not finding it riveting. That said, I will finish it...eventually.
Published 8 months ago by Kindle Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful!
Have been reading this for the past 2-3 weeks (our book club choice) and have really struggled with it.Boring and not well written....rubbish.
Published 10 months ago by cashers
2.0 out of 5 stars Good writing but depressing
Initially, I enjoyed the humour of this book but after a time, realised that I was skipping over large sections of it because it was just more of the same. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Miss Elizabeth Patrick
4.0 out of 5 stars film first
Had seen the film some time ago. Thought film very good ,indeed slightly better than book,which took awhile to get into because of dialect.
Published 14 months ago by Ms. S. Matchett
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Have read this before in proper book form, put it on the Kindle because I had thought it an excellent read and it was reasonably priced. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Lizanne
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