There are a large number of characters and the story is told in short bursts of chapters from every character's perspective jumping between time frames.
The challenge for the reader is keeping on top of the relationships, points of view and descriptions of the same events from other peolples perspectives.
Again, it is a book that would have really benefited from keepin...more
Upon reading the premise, I remember that the film has been watched: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0253200/
Dedication: For Al
But man is a Noble Animal, splendid in ashes, and pompous in the grave. Urn Burial by Sir Thomas Browne.
I do like to be beside the seaside. John A. Glover-Kind
Opening: It ain't like your regular sort of day.
Jack Arthur Dodds (deceased) - "Dodds and Son Family Butcher, since 1903".
Vince Dodds (Vincent Ian Pritchett) - "son" of Jack and Amy. "Dodds' Autos"
Ray "Lucky" Johnson - "...if you want to put a bet on, he's your man".
Lenny Tate, Grocer - "Gunner Tate, middleweight. Always pissed. Always late".
Vic Tucker, Funeral Director - "...at your disposal".
Amy Dodds - Jack's wife, mother of June (mentally disabled). "...it was hop picking that started it....It's all pickings."
Mandy Black -...more
It took me about one third of the book to straighten out the characters in my mind. I was thinking I should go back and re-read the beginning, but now I think it was better that all the stories were jumbled and then clarified. Or somewhat clarified. The characters themselves have not sorted out their relationships or their pasts either.
Each short ch...more
I have been close to encountering this story twice in my life. I distinctly remember nearly buying it back in the 90's based purely on the (pint glass) cover, but this was probably more due...more
This was a good book but also a difficult book to read. All along I felt like I was reading a movie script. I could almost hear the characters speaking and see the working class suburb that they were from. From that standpoint, the book is excellent. These were real,...more
But then again, maybe not. In a few brisk chapters we have encountered (the word met suggests more purchase than we are given) Ray, Jack, Sue, Sally, Vince, Vic, Lenny, Amy, Bernie, Brenda, Joan, Mandy, Carol and Charlie. Was there any need t...more
The writng style is plain, reflecting the austerity of the post war setting of a lot of the reminiscence. The story is engaging and was made into a star studded film and yet someting about the book does not quite wo...more
While his son Vince, and his friends Ray, Lenny and Vic are on their way to the seaside, his wife Amy is visiting their daughter June to break the news to her.
This day, meant to honour Jack, turns out to be one of...more
This is one of those odd books that I quite enjoyed despite not really getting on with it. Or perhaps I didn't enjoy it despite finding it quite likeable. Hard to put my finger on my feelings with any degree of accuracy.
Jack's last orders were last his drinking partners from the pub in Bermondsey should scatter his ashes from the pier at Margate. This book is split into short segments narrated by his friends and son, and also his widow who stays at home, as the day goes on.
In some places I found...more
Four friends set out to scatter the ashes of a mutual friend, at his request. Not an original plot de...more
Reminiscent of the working class novels of the early 60s (Stan Barst...more
The story followed a very well-worn format. It could have been a tale about anyone from the 1940s to the 1980s. I suppose the appeal was that a lot of people could identify with it.
There were no tw...more
Very sensibly avoided the language challenge of trainspotting while making it real and accessible.
A story thread not quite dealt with for me was Vince's allusion to an incident/experience with his adopted Dad Jack. Swift opened the door on something potentially destructive to the spirit of the book and never quite shut it, particularly with the 'adopted' sis...more
It's an easy read, but read the first 50 pages straight through or else you'll get confused about who's who like I did and have to re-read them. The relationships are complex and interwoven and riddled with deceit and disappointment...more
And, I'm sorry Mr Swift, I admire your work, but the cinematic interpretation ruined the book for me.
I do so wish I had come to this story from the book first, the film diluted too many of the characters; when reading the book, I could see the characters revealing themselves with the inter-twined storylines, but of course it was too late for me, I already knew what was coming.
It is the death of Jack and the casting of his ashes in Margate that brings out each the story of his life and the lives of his friends and family.
Well written, but not that it is a bit challenging, at first, to keep track of who's who. Once you get the players in you...more
Some of his works have been made into films, including Last Orders, which starred Michael Caine and Bob Hoskins and Waterland which starred Jeremy Irons. Last Orders was a...more