Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Click Here Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop Women's Shop Men's

Customer reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£8.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 5 March 2015
Bought the book because I loved the film. Found the book inconsistent in small ways. First, the main character is described as paunchy but then he's been working out all summer and in good shape which is inconsistent, as though the author forgot how he described the character.. There are changes in the marriage that conflict with earlier information. Preferred the film, but the book did leave a doubt about what actually happened because the book's description conflicted with the film's peak, leaving less doubt about events.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 November 2010
I didn't know of this author before but will seek out some of his other books as I found this a compelling and well-written story that caught my attention from the very start. At first I thought it seemed more like a book written by someone like Joanna Trollope: two middle class couples, one wealthy and the other struggling financially, agree to spend a holiday weekend together having not seen each other for many years. We soon learn that the two men had been inseparable friends at University but a rift developed after Ollie "stole" Ian's girlfriend, Daisy, the latter now Ollie's partner and mother of their son. So the scene is set for marital tensions between the two couples, but the book develops into much more than a relationships-novel as there are several interesting sub-plots. For example, Ian, a school-teacher, is suspended from his job owing to a complaint by a parent: a scenario that leads to some humorous writing parodying extreme political correctness. Em, Ian's wife, a dedicated social worker is trying, unsuccessfully, to become pregnant; Ollie believes he's seriously ill. The writer skillfully builds up the main characters and then shifts our view of them as the stories unfold and the book gathers pace as a darker, more menacing atmosphere develops as the two men, Ian and Ollie, start to compete at various sports with a large bet resting on the outcome. The foursome is further unbalanced by, Milo, Daisy's artist friend who was also invited for the weekend and fuels jealous feelings in the two other men. A potent mix that gathers steam to an explosive finale.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 22 June 2010
There is definately the touch of the Ian McEwan about this book. Like the other author, the prose is extremely well written and the narrative so exciting that it was really difficult to put this book down. Like McEwan, Morrison has the knack of unsettling you and I hurtled through the pages as I was anxious to discover what exactly happened to the characters in the end, even though none were particularly sympathetic - the narrator being particularly cringe-worthy.

The story concerns two couple who are reunited for a Bank Holiday weekend on the East coast with the two male characters being old friends from university. What I loved about the story was how the author managed to get right inside the head of his principle creation and conjure situations where we eventually start to realise that things aren't exactly what they seem. In the beginning we are offered glimpses of the main character's past and, one by one, these start to piece together into the jigsaw of the main thread of the novel, only that the picture we are trying to put together might not necessarily be the one that we had started off with. Consequently, the story becomes increasingly more exciting as the clues start to fit together and the last thirty or so pages had to be finished off late at night as I could not bare the suspense!! Not going to say any more as I don't want to spoil anyone's enjoyment but hope this is sufficient to prompt your curiousity.

Blake Morrison is not an author I had heard of before and I was prompted to buy this book after reading an excellent review in my Sunday newspaper. I am glad that I followed my interest up and, as the other reviwer stated, agree that this would make an excellent film or drama. Modern literature is a bit of a mixed bag for me. I like a good story but I hate pulp fiction. "The last weekend" is well crafted with some wonderful descriptions but is a thriller at the same time. All in all, I would thoroughly recommend this book although buyers should be aware that they will want to finish the thing once they have got their teeth into the first few chapters! Really enjoyed this book.
0Comment| 41 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 16 August 2010
The book takes place over a bank holiday weekend where two couples share a weekend in a country house. Ollie & his wife Daisy - glamourous and wealthy, invite former university friend Ian and his wife Em(considerably poorer and "ugly toads" compared to the golden couple) for the weekend on the basis they have something important to tell them.

There is a sort of feel good feel to it to start with (think This Life, Peter's Friends, The Priory (Royal Court Play)) but as things unfold old rivalries and unfinished business becomes exposed.

It is a fairly short read and pretty page turning - I read it in a day which says alot for it's plot pace. The book is unusual because it doesn't patronise the reader - which is a real strength. So when a scene is described from one character's perspective that may not be all it seems to be, rather than having another character explain what actually happened (eg. Bret Easton Ellis Rules of Attraction), the reader is left to work it out and form his/her own conclusions.

The only real weakness in the book is the ending which was to me unsatisfying, very disappointing given the strength of the book and several of the ending strands were implausible. It's a shame and this is the only reason it gets 4 stars from me - otherwise would have been a clear 5.

It's kind of sad that authors can't include "alternative endings" in future editions of books a la DVD extras!! This book could be made perfect!

Good read though and would recommend nonetheless. Ideal reading for a weekend away.
0Comment| 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 29 September 2012
I read this after watching the television series so I did already know what was going to happen, but this did not detract from the enjoyment and I still found myself hoping that something else would happen. The Last Weekend is set over a bank holiday weekend in August and as the time progresses you get the feeling that something terrible is going to happen. The characters that Blake Morrison has created are varied and interesting although the character of Ian is not likeable and it becomes clear throughout that he twists the truth. I did enjoy the book and the way it slowly unfolded until you know what happens but for me I felt that there was something missing from it to make it really really good, but it is a good psychological thriller all the same.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 10 January 2012
Ollie and Ian became friends at University. Ollie comes from a relatively privileged background, Ian from a more working class background. Ollie is socially successful, Ian more of a loner. Some twenty plus years on, both Ollie and Ian are married and the two couples see each other infrequently.

Then Ollie and his wife Daisy invite Ian and his wife Emily to a long weekend in East Anglia. It is to become a pivotal weekend for both couples.

The story is narrated by Ian, coloured by Ian's own personal slant on people and relationships, so we get to know more about Ian than about any of the other characters.

I read this book quickly and didn't really feel that it lived up to the blurb that describes it as a 'darkly haunting tale of friendship, sexual passion and jealousy, confirming Blake Morrison's reputation as one of Britain's most unpredictable and talented writers'. Not really. It is a pale shadow of a not dissimilar story by Sebastian Faulks, Engleby.

It is however, an easy and enjoyable read for people who enjoy stories with a psychological twist, but also want to relax at the same time.
11 Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 10 May 2011
I read Blake Morrison's previous novel, 'South Of The River' a few years ago. I enjoyed it, but am now struggling to recall much about it. This is a shorter and far more memorable read. Morrison's use of an unreliable narrator is the best I have ever come across in contemporary fiction. The reader realises only gradually that all is not as it seems. Vital snippets of information are dropped casually into the narrative. The author builds the tension superbly. To say much more would give away the plot, but I loved this book, and am still thinking about it several days after finishing it. Highly recommended.
0Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 November 2016
The Last Weekend tells the story of Ian and Em, a seemingly everyday couple, with everyday values and everday lives. It tells the story of a stiflingly hot August bank holiday weekend away in the English countryside with old friends, Ollie and Daisy. Despite having not seen each other for a number of years, the two couples aim to revive old friendships, offer up new revelations, and spend a relaxing weekend together, taking a break from the woes of real life. And it turns out just like that. Sort of.

I’ll be honest, I couldn’t help but snore at a good chunk of the start of this book. It seemed that Ian and Em’s supposedly bland and boring life was seeping through the pages and infecting the story itself, and there were few – if any – pointers towards what was to come. So they’re going to spend the weekend with old school buddies? Whoopie-do. Got to be more to it though, I told myself, with a stern tone of voice. And there was, given a chance and a little time.

In fact, lots happens, and the reader is pulled into a twisting, chilling, turning, dark adventure that they aren’t really sure whether to believe. Ian, you see, is the epitome of unreliable narrators and although he sucks you nicely in at the beginning (as he did his wife, Ollie, Daisy, and the rest), you soon begin to doubt his account of the tale. In some places, it’s even plainly evident that what’s actually happening is quite the opposite to what the narrator claims is happening – quite a clever technique that, fair play Mr. Morrison.

Whilst reading, I couldn’t help but get the feeling of classics (cheesy or otherwise) such as Abigail’s Party, An Inspector Calls, or even If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor (although, for the latter, with a lot less poetic beauty and a little more depth of prose). They’re stories that are almost a nothingness – they’re about nothing but about everything at the same time, stories that are slow (and perhaps a tad confusing) to start but leave you breathless by the end, with twists and turns that would have seemed utterly impossible to begin with – and that’s just what The Last Weekend did for me.

Ask me what it’s about and I’m not really sure I could tell you, other than that they are on a weekend away. Having said that though, it’s a story about love and hate, jealousy and pride. Morrison captures emotions so truly that they glow through the pages and the one that shines out most is that hot and sweaty, cooped-up-with-the-same-people-for-three-days kind of irritation that is so hard to pinpoint and explain in real life, let alone through words on a page. I think it’s this talent that makes this book what it is – the story gets better as it goes along, the characters are okay but for the most part utterly unlikeable, the unreliable narrator technique is done well and is interesting, but it’s the way that Morrison brings these characters alive through emotion, and the way that he puts the reader right into the middle of that sweaty, sticky, stifling house that really makes this book what it is.

If you’re looking for a gritty, gripping story, one that’s obvious and easily pulls you along, this isn’t for you. And if you’re looking to fall in love with the characters and hunt down your next ficional friend, it’s not for you either. But if you enjoy well written prose, an extremely well written unreliable narrator, and that rather clever snapshot of real life and real emotion, this book will do you well – just be sure to push past the first 50-odd pages first – they’re important, but a little stiff.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 31 August 2013
This is the first time I have read a book by this author and it will not be the last.
A well written novel with believable characters. The scene setting, character construction and plot are well crafted. I particularly enjoyed the way the author made my emotions, in relation to the main character, swing from liking him, feeling sorry for him, thinking he is a loser, to thinking he is underhand. A true to life weekend experience which could have happened to any of us in these unfortunate circumstances. I am looking forward to reading more of Blake Morrison's work.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 29 April 2014
I read this after watching the television adaptation and as is usually the case, the book is more nuanced and convincing. That said, the casting is very apt. It's the story of two friendly couples on a weekend break in remote-ish East Anglia: Ollie and Daisy (upper-middle class, attractive) and Ian and Em (lower-middle class, and in Ian's words 'ugly toads'). Nothing is quite as it seems, however, as our narrator is Ian and he is classically unreliable. The story starts slowly and gathers pace as more is revealed, until the reader doubts that anything is really as Ian describes.

If that doesn't sound much like 'Othello', of which this is meant to be a reworking, that's because it doesn't really work on that level. Ian (Iago) is jealous of Ollie (Othello) despite the efforts of his sensible wife Em (Emilia) but that's about where the similarities end. Iago isn't unreliable: he's quite open about his machinations. Ultimately Ian doesn't succeed in corrupting Ollie either.

It is nonetheless a decent page-turning read, keeping the reader hooked on Ian's self-delusion and establishing an atmosphere of foreboding, with Badingley already associated with tragic memories for two of the characters. It's dark and involving, and while few would conclude that Ian is anything other than seriously deranged, it is also an indictment of empty aspiration and hollow values.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Customers also viewed these items


Need customer service? Click here