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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful love story and a hell of an ending
I have read a number of Anita Shreve's books now and have thoroughly enjoyed all of them. It seems that a recurring theme of her books is that 'love hurts' - there is lost love, painful love, love that is imperfect or flawed in some way. 'The Last Time They Met' is no different - Thomas and Linda appear to be made for each other but will fate actually permit them to be...
Published on 16 Jan. 2002

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars That ending...
"that ending...WOW!"..."shocking ending"..."memorable ending"... "overwhelming ending"...
Having read all the above and more besides in other reviews of this novel, I was full of expectation and curiosity regarding "that ending"...
It is of course difficult to talk about the ending in question without giving it away - as indeed one reviewer here unfortunately...
Published on 27 April 2005 by jfp2006


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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful love story and a hell of an ending, 16 Jan. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Last Time They Met (Paperback)
I have read a number of Anita Shreve's books now and have thoroughly enjoyed all of them. It seems that a recurring theme of her books is that 'love hurts' - there is lost love, painful love, love that is imperfect or flawed in some way. 'The Last Time They Met' is no different - Thomas and Linda appear to be made for each other but will fate actually permit them to be together forever...?
The ending is truly astonishing - I just didn't see it coming and it is literally the last paragraph so make sure you don't sneak a peek at the back page!! I didn't go back and read the whole book again like other reviewers but I certainly flicked back through various pages and re-read chunks of it to see if there were ANY clues or how it read differently once you knew what was coming.
The only slight criticism that I would say is that, for me, to begin with, it didn't seem to read as easily as some of Shreve's other books - there seemed to be huge sentences in brackets all over the place which threw me slightly. I think that was more in the Toronto section as it certainly picked up with the move to Africa - it's only really a minor niggle anyway.
This is highly recommended - a wonderful narrative, beautiful love story and that ending....WOW!
Of her others, try Eden Close - a cracking read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotion-tingling, 11 Aug. 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Last Time They Met (Paperback)
This is the 3rd of Anita shreve's books that I've read. I've enjoyed the other two, but this one is certainly the best. It is a very poignant tale centring upon Thomas and Linda, teenage lovers from very diverse backgrounds, and the love that lingers in to the future. Thomas recalls his life since meeting Linda and ponders on the way things have turned out and upon events that could have been. I found that I could not put the book down and when I got to the last page, the ending came as such a shock that I (like another reviewer) had to re-read it, just to make sure! The whole tone of the novel is very tender, but without soppiness, and the memory of it stayed with me for days after I'd finished the book. Wonderful and unforgettable!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars STUNNING, 6 Dec. 2003
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Last Time They Met (Paperback)
I have literally just finished reading this book and have logged straight on here to write this review. I haven't checked out other reviews yet but suspect someone will have used my title as 'stunning' but right now it is the only description that comes to mind...or maybe it should be stunned, as that is how I feel after reading the last few pages of this wonderful novel. It is the third book I have read by this author and is by far the best. I have read 'Weight of Water' in which Thomas also features of course. If you only read one book this year just make it this one, you will not be disappointed. The author has a wonderful way of making her characters utterly believable, she writes about love but not in a sentimental sickly-sweet way. The story of Linda and Thomas is utterly spell-binding and I believe the story will be on my mind for many weeks to come. I am sure whatever I read next will not measure up.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The nature of fiction writing, 22 Aug. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Last Time They Met (Paperback)
I'm a book-a-day reader, drawing from all genres of fiction from English classics to American contemporary, which is where I picked up Anita Shreve. And couldn't put her down again. Because of the sheer volume of my reading, I have an unfortunate tendency to forget a book once read, and I never, ever re-read, but "The Last Time They Met" was an extraordinary exception. I was quite literally gobsmacked by the ending and had to immediately re-read the book, putting the days plans on hold ... This book should become a classic. Should be on the A-level syllabus.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written with a shocking ending, 17 Feb. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Last Time They Met (Paperback)
A beautifully observed, well written book which keeps you turning the pages long into the night. You want to know the whole story of the relationship between Linda and Thomas and, although the book is written in the unusual format from the present day into the past in three stages, it keeps you well and truly hooked.
But it was the ending that swept me away - literally the last two pages, with events so clearly described, make you catch your breath. I read those two pages several times to make absolutely sure that I understood what had happened, and I was stunned.
This is a book that you won't forget for a long, long time.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary, 20 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Last Time They Met (Paperback)
There has been so much hype about Anita Shreve recently I decided to give her a go and ordered 2 off the amazon. The first, 'Strange Fits of Passion' didn't grab it and I was just wondering if I'd wasted my money when I started on this. I thought it was incredible. The prose style is beautifully crafted, without being over-polished. The dialogue is realistic, the narrative is peppered with tiny little familiar touches that ring oh so true. The structure is intelligent, the love story deeply touching....but nothing can quite prepare you for the unexpected ending, which packed a huge emotional punch.
If you are looking to begin reading any Anita Shreve's, definitely try this. It has inspired me to give more of her novels a read.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a blissful journey of love and loss, 20 April 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Last Time They Met (Paperback)
Anita Shreve is one of the greatest writers i have ever read. This book had me glued to my seat unable to put it down. It is a story of true passion, love that transcends time and distance and it has a truly awesome ending. The characters are real and Shreve writes them with such elegance, delving into their vulnerabilities and emotional complexities with a style that is all her own. I would highly recommend any of her books.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensitive, thoughtful and beautifully written, 9 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Last Time They Met (Paperback)
Perhaps I was in the right frame of mind for this book when I picked it off the shelf ... suffering from a past rather similar to that of the novel's protagonists.
However, disregarding the sentimetal tugging at my heart strings, I can objectively say that the novel is structured to best effect, dealing with the issues of morality, duty, ethics, passion and love in a direct yet eloquent and sensitive manner.
The writer's style transforms a potentially overly sentimental subject by applying a clean and accessible critique; the onus of the novel not falling on romance itself but on the 'humaness' associated with all emotions relating to this human condition - love, hate, mistrust, duty, loyalty, sorrow, loss ...
Those looking for an discussion on human affliction will find it, those searching for 'commonalities' with their own lives will find that too, those wanting a 'good read' will be pleased but those seeking trite lines and overly-processed dialogue will be disappointed.
Fabulous book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On completion I had to start again at the beginning, 26 Mar. 2001
This review is from: Last Time They Met (Paperback)
The three time sequences take some time to adjust to because as in real life memories are disjointed and incomplete. It is unusual to start with the present and work backwards and the story compels you to fill in the gaps with each sequence. This is one of a very few books recently that as soon as I got to the end I had to start again. Re-reading in light of the ending makes second reading a completely different experience. This has certainly been a unique experience for me.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars That ending..., 27 April 2005
By 
jfp2006 (PARIS/France) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Last Time They Met (Paperback)
"that ending...WOW!"..."shocking ending"..."memorable ending"... "overwhelming ending"...
Having read all the above and more besides in other reviews of this novel, I was full of expectation and curiosity regarding "that ending"...
It is of course difficult to talk about the ending in question without giving it away - as indeed one reviewer here unfortunately does -, and that would be unfair.
Yes, it IS unexpected (and would be all the more unexpected for someone not having been led to expect it by reading reviews...) - but it is hardly devastatingly original. In the final analysis it's narratological sleight of hand more than anything else.
However, I felt the novel did have other strengths. The plot, starting at the end of the story and working backwards through time, is very cleverly put together, with lots of details linking the three episodes of the story for the perceptive and careful reader. And, after all, we do have to gradually work backwards through time and discover people's pasts when we get to know them in adulthood. The novel is also a convincing analysis of overwhelming passion, the way in which, when in love, we gradually build a mental picture of the loved one which is very different from what is seen by a more impartial observer.
Categorised as Romance, "The Last Time They Met" avoids the excessive sentimentality which tends to be associated with that label, and rather falls somewhere in between mawkish emotion and more literary evocations of love. As such, I would put "The Last Time They Met" on a par with Robert James Waller's "The Bridges of Madison County", made into a film by Clint Eastwood. Not necessarily everyone's cup of tea - but if you like your heartstrings tugged in not too melodramatic a way, then it's for you.
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The Last Time They Met
The Last Time They Met by Anita Shreve (Paperback - 3 Dec. 2001)
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