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The Last Time They Met
 
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Anita Shreve
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The Last Time They Met

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3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  12,022 ratings  ·  1,030 reviews
In The Last Time They Met, Anita Shreve, author of Fortune's Rocks and the bestselling Oprah pick The Pilot's Wife, shows how the decisions we make can affect the course of our lives. It is with mixed emotions that poet Linda Fallon greets her old lover, fellow poet Thomas Janes, when they bump into each other at a literary festival. Devastated by their breakup years befor...more
Paperback, Large Print, 475 pages
Published September 1st 2002 by Thorndike Press (first published January 1st 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jenny
May 29, 2008 Jenny rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like it when love doesn't work out.
Shelves: stuffmalenttome
Fuck this book.

First of all, it's broken into three sections- the characters at 52, 28 and 17. It goes backwards, which might work in some stories, but it's utterly annoying here. You end up not knowing the characters at all. Plus, it was like a wanna be Out of Africa. I'm so annoyed with this book. Anita Shrew I mean Shreve is all about the depressing love stories, but this was ridiculous. I liked the other one about this character much better and THAT one wasn't even that good. Jesus.
Pauline
"Such extraordinary emotions in the space of paragraphs." - Thoughts on The Last Time They Met by Anita Shreve

I hate you, Anita Shreve.

I hate you for writing The Last Time They Met. For making me fall in love and breaking my heart, all at once, on the same (last) page. I hate how you pretty much destroyed my hope in finding love as perfect and enduring and dangerous as that of Linda and Thomas. I will now probably end up an old maid with delusions of love so grand, there is no possibility whatso...more
Lucy

This had a solid spot on my mediocre-books-I'll-never-remember shelf until I read the last two pages where an appallingly bad ending forced me to violently throw it into the books-so-bad-they-make-me-angry trash.**

While still fuming about one of the lamest and most manipulative endings ever written, I had to remind myself that I believe there is a purpose to occasionally reading a bad book. As a reading hobbyist, my main motivation to read is for joy. For the euphoria that comes when I immerse m...more
Debbie Petersen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michele
-What do you think of this book?
She thought for a moment, tried to remember the last time she had been so annoyed by a style of writing.
-I think it sucks.
-Well, maybe if you had tried harder when you were younger, or lived your life in a different way, or managed to lower your standards.... He thought he had never seen someone so beautiful, would never again see someone so beautiful. Why was that couple in the corner feeding fried anchovies to their cat?
She knew he must be right, at the core of...more
Meaghan
Anything Anita Shreve [Anita Shreve] has ever written has moved me. I am thrown into the storyline because of her writing skills. No other writer has ever been able to make me see what is being written. I can picture each character, house, town, etc as though there are photos on the side. There's just something about her writing. I get involved in the story and the characters. When there's a new Anita Shreve book, I get ready for a sleepless night because I can't put the book down.
Ns
The Last Time They Met is a haunting, compelling and beautiful story about a love that is timeless. A love found, lost and then found again through the reliving of memories. A love that is renewed and where future possibilities are inevitably created and visited through the imagination. An imagination that is impossible or improbable without a certain bias and influence of the past, of memories, both weighted with actions and consequences leading us to question the whys, what ifs and the could h...more
daysgoby
You know, I've read other stuff by this author, and liked it. Liked it a lot. This is actually the fifth book if hers I've read.

Absolute dreck.

The characters are wooden and unbelievable, like something out of a Russian novel of the last century. They give undue weight to their actions (should I or shouldn't I have this glass of wine?) and are clunky.

Not one of them is memorable.

Really, really disappointed.
Robyn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Denise
I see a lot of people did not like this book. I understand why, but there are certainly parts or rather a sentence that I HATED but I loved this book. I read it a few years ago and it still haunts me. I would recommend reading it with a friend or group, because you WILL want to discuss this with someone in the know when you finish. This is a book that I will re-read. I think what I like so much about it, besides the wonderful writing, is that it is very different from anything I have ever read.
Ron Charles
Part III

Remember the last time we read Anita Shreve's "The Last Time They Met"? As you'll recall, it's a love story told in three parts - in reverse. Pretty clever, eh?

Linda Fallon is a shy, minor poet preparing to read at a literary festival in Toronto. It's tangled with the usual collection of snobs, frauds, and sycophants. Fretting in her hotel room, she wishes she could write anonymously, but she knows these strained social engagements are good for her career and her confidence.

Since the dea...more
Lee Goldberg
I'm a big Anita Shreve fan...and eagerly await each new book she writes. That said, however, this one is truly terrible. Was this really written by the author of the incredible "The Weight of Water"??? She forces the comparison, since this book is a vastly inferior sequel. Both books had a gimmick at their core, but the gimmick is all this sequel is about. This isn't the first book of hers that's poorly plotted, but usually her moving prose and intricately-drawn characters more than compensate f...more
Thomma
I really enjoyed this book. Lovely writing style, compelling story. I like Linda, and Thomas is just plain yummy. But the ending... oh, I have such mixed feelings about the ending! *sigh*

I thought the story started out a bit slow, but I gave it a chance, and it grew on me. By the time I got to the last third or so of the novel, I was gobbling it up. And as a reader, I was touched by the ending -- it gave me shivers and made me misty-eyed.

But as a writer, I was left with what I felt to be a slew...more
Bookfanatic
One of my favorite books. This is haunting, beautiful, magical and shocking. This is one of those books that is best appreciated by those who are past their 20s. You look back on your life and wonder about the what might have been, what ifs, if onlys. You know that one moment or one event can change the whole course of your entire life.

This tells the story of intense love between Linda and Thomas who first meet as high school teenagers then as young adults and much later as adults just past the...more
Sharon
I disliked pretty much everything about this book, from the selfish, unlikeable characters and rather pointless plot to the annoying prose. Thomas and Linda and their adultery made my blood boil; and it might be because I didn't read thoroughly enough, but I didn't really find any satisfactory background or explanations for their past, given the structure of the book. There were too many long-winded descriptions of settings and the mundane actions of the characters, and oh - the ending. Far from...more
dreamer
I've only read one other by by this author - The Pilot's Wife - which I loved. Her style is different from most, but I like it. It's the kind you have to read a bit to get into it and then you're all set. The storyline and the characters were interesting, well thought out, but the setup of the book in itself was a little strange. It's a love story - an affair, actually - about two people who never really could be together even though they were meant to be. The story is in three parts, starting a...more
Kim
Linda Fallon, accomplished poet, runs into her former lover and mentor Thomas Jane at a poetry reading event. Jane has engineered this meeting in an attempt to rekindle the passion they had previously.



The book takes you back to them as teenagers and then again as young adults. The love these two shared in tender, obvious and disastrous. The story rolls backwards and forwards between their younger versions of love and their current emotions. The fact that there is some huge, unspoken secret to t...more
Rosemary Ibekwe
I do not even know where to begin with this book. I checked out this book a year ago and 20 pages into the book I gave up on it. A week ago I see the book for sale and I am wondering to myself that this sounds like an interesting read. I read the first couple of pages and it hits me that I tried reading this book and found it boring. Even though I thought this, I kept on reading, and to be honest I am very glad I continued reading.

This book is brilliant and beautiful. It is the perfect balance o...more
Lavonne
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melissa
The author can write, and there were some moments of brilliance (which is why I am giving it a 2 rather than just a 1). But there were too many parentheticals in Linda's sections, and the use of the italics rather than the quotations annoyed me. I personally thought the coincidence of meeting in Africa was too hard to believe, and the characters were way too effusive in their conversations and letters. I wondered why, until of course, I figured it all out at the very end, which was RIDICULOUS. I...more
Lauren
Yet another Anita Shreve book where I absolutely love her writing, her incredible skill with words... but am not necessarily a fan of the all the actions of the characters. I hate the second to last sentence of this book. She is incredible but I hate that sentence and when you average out those two things out the best compromise is 3 stars. She is such a 5 star writer though that I will continue to read her works until I find the one book that blows the rest away. The closest I've come so far is...more
Jessica
Spoiler alert-- Waste of time. I was never able to get that into it anyway and then the ending was ridiculous. If anyone understands the ending any better than me let me know. I am assuming that the whole book was "linda's future flashing before her eyes." I read in Anita Shreve's interview at the end that there were supposed to be clues to the ending throughout the book, but I can't think of any. Also why does every book these days have to have some form of child abuse in it? I am kind of sick...more
Amy
I'm still not sure what I think of it. I guess it really depends on whose point of view Linda's life was seen from. If it was an omniscent third person, then the book is positivly the most romantic thing I've ever read, and my tears at the end were not in vain. *BUT*, if it was all conjecture on Thomas' part, then this is the most twisted, sick novel I've ever read. He's shaped her life according to his will and his desires. Too obsessive for me. So, until I find out the motives of the narrator,...more
Laura Rittenhouse
I love the writing in this book. I was drawn in to the longing the main characters had for each other as fate, bad timing and bad luck kept them apart. It's in no way a gushy romance, more a tragic tale of love and time lost or at least wasted.

The story is told in reverse chronological order beginning when the couple is 52, jumping back to the last time the met at 26 and ending when they are 17. I think I would have liked it more if it was told in chronological order. Perhaps Ms Shreve feared it...more
Nickylee129
I am so confused about this book and at times I feel like Anita Shreve might have been confused as well. I was going to give it 1 star, but the ending (awful) made me bump it up to two. Confused? Exactly. I admire the fact that she challenged herself to write a book backwards; however, I don't think it worked. I'm sure I didn't notice links between Thomas and Linda at the beginning of the book and Thomas and Linda at the end of the book. Also, I feel like Anita got bored with the book during the...more
Holly
I found it interesting that the author chose to write all dialogue in italics. It felt like I was reading a dream, or a play being performed in whispers; very theatrical. I couldn't see the purpose in the beginning.

The story seems to start at the end and then works it's way through the characters relationship by going back in time; first from Linda's point of view and then from Thomas' point of view and back and forth, until you reach the last section of the book. The story starts at the very,...more
Rebecca
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tory
...

I just finished this book and immediately texted my friend the last sentence... not because he'd care, but because I had to tell someone. I don't know if I'm amazed or angry. I don't know if it takes away from the story, or if it makes better. Or if it just changes it so entirely that I no longer know how I feel about it. But the point is, I definitely feel something. And not all books make me feel.

With or without the intensely emotional ending, I loved this book. I LOVE Shreve's writing. I...more
Caitlin
This was the third book in a row that threw me for a loop in the final pages (or in this case, the final paragraph). Therefore, I was again left at the end of the book contemplating whether I liked it or not.

Overall, I thought it was relatively well-written though I never felt that I fully understood the characters, so additional depth in that regard would have helped.
It was unique that the story was laid out backwards in three different phases of their lives (52, 28, and 17). Unfortunately, tha...more
Kathryn
Feb 16, 2012 Kathryn rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one who I like
Thinking back on this book I still regret that I wasted the money on it. The Characters were..drab, and unbelievable. The writing was okay but the plot was stupid. It seemed like she was trying to pull an Ian McEwan at the end of Atonement, with the big reveal but it really didn't work (in fact it backfired a little, instead of sympathy I got an annoyed expression and shook my head thinking that I didn't think that this book would get worse) and the way that she arranged it by starting at a late...more
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The 'ending' of "Last Time They Met" 9 64 Apr 15, 2014 03:11PM  
  • Say When
  • Le Mariage
  • World Below
  • Without a Backward Glance
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  • Mrs. Kimble
  • Treasures
  • An Act of Love
  • Blue Diary
  • Claire Marvel
  • Bed & Breakfast
  • These Granite Islands
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Anita Shreve grew up in Dedham, Massachusetts (just outside Boston), the eldest of three daughters. Early literary influences include having read Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton when she was a junior in high school (a short novel she still claims as one of her favorites) and everything Eugene O'Neill ever wrote while she was a senior (to which she attributes a somewhat dark streak in her own work). A...more
More about Anita Shreve...
The Pilot's Wife Fortune's Rocks Light on Snow Testimony The Weight of Water

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“the enduring struggle to capture in words the infinite possibilities of a life not lived.” 19 likes
“I have always been faithful to you if faithful means the experience against which everything else has been measured.” 15 likes
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