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Last Time They Met

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3.48  ·  Rating Details  ·  14,059 Ratings  ·  1,179 Reviews
A dazzling story about marriage, forgiveness, and chances not taken, by the bestselling author of Body Surfing and A Wedding in December.


At a literary festival a poet named Linda Fallon meets for the first time in years a fellow poet, Thomas Janes, whose fame has grown during a decade of seclusion.

This is no chance meeting. Thomas saw that Linda was scheduled to appear,
...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 22nd 2002 by Little, Brown & Company (first published January 1st 2001)
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Kelly Forget the audio book, get the real thing and read it carefully. There are clues as to the last time they met! And don't spoil it for everyone else…moreForget the audio book, get the real thing and read it carefully. There are clues as to the last time they met! And don't spoil it for everyone else here... it's a book I read 20 years ago... and I STILL LOVE IT!(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jenny
May 29, 2008 Jenny rated it it was ok  ·  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
Jan 19, 2011 Pauline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: project-52-2011
"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
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Cathrine ☯
Read for my book club; it has been a while since I read this author. It tells the story of a consuming love between a man and woman; or does it? Recounted in reverse order in three parts beginning with the present tense. Part one was slow going, using as one of my friends pointed out, overwrought phrases like “…the small trapezoidal carton of nachos” and later “a day without you seems a day un-lived, bearable only because I summon memory, mine subject to the merest oxidation, a faint rust blowin ...more
Lucy
May 25, 2010 Lucy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

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
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Debbie Petersen
Jul 15, 2008 Debbie Petersen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michele
Jan 02, 2012 Michele rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
-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
Denise
Nov 24, 2010 Denise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Meaghan
Jul 14, 2008 Meaghan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 01, 2010 Ns rated it really liked it
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
Apr 01, 2008 daysgoby rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Lee Goldberg
Apr 18, 2010 Lee Goldberg rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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Robyn
Sep 27, 2008 Robyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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Rebecca
Mar 14, 2013 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rosemary Ibekwe
Mar 04, 2013 Rosemary Ibekwe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
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Lavonne
May 17, 2011 Lavonne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beachreading
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sharon
May 25, 2013 Sharon rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 02, 2009 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women-lit
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
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Melissa
Dec 26, 2011 Melissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 23, 2008 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lois Duncan
This is a love story primarily laid in a poverty stricken area of Africa. Stories about agonizing, obsessive love make me uncomfortable -- (I keep wanting to ship the characters off to a psychiatrist) -- and I don't reading about squalid and painful surroundings, so this well-written novel had two strikes against it before I even got into it. Which wasn't fair to the author.

It was interesting because of the way the plot was designed. It read backwards, starting with a current situation and worki
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Ali Mandala
Dec 24, 2013 Ali Mandala rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I was left a little speechless with this book. It's not often that I am left completely shocked at the end of a book but here I was. I won't give it away but you have to keep reading to the last page. Each section got more interesting and the weaving of time starting with the future and working backwards was very interesting and well done. For me, the book did drag at times so it took me a little while to get through but I'm glad I managed to finish. The book touched on a lot of different top ...more
Jessica
Jul 29, 2011 Jessica rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 17, 2007 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book, fiction
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
Jessica
Apr 26, 2016 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Last Time They Met is a story of star-crossed lovers. The book is split into 3 parts moving backwards.

It starts when they're 52 at a chance meeting at a literary festival. Linda and Thomas are both celebrated poets that have been in love since they met in high school at the age of 17.

Moving backwards to when they're 26 years old in Africa. Thomas is there because his wife has a grant through UNICEF. Linda met her husband while there for the Peace Corps. Both surrounded by poverty and disea
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Joy H.
Mar 28, 2016 Joy H. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, fiction
Added 4/6/08.
3/28/16 - I found the following comments saved among my digital notes on this book.
=================================
---"The novel does get off to a slow start, with an unnecessarily drawn-out description of a luxury hotel." -
---"For some the pace of the book would be agonizingly slow. The author indulges in lengthy descriptions of the landscape and culture of Kenya, while the tragic impossibility of a lasting relationship is played out."
---"I agree with Ms. Hoover who says 'I feel r
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Mary E Trimble
Jan 05, 2015 Mary E Trimble rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Clear your calendar for a couple of days and read Anita Shireve’s The Last Time They Met (Little, Brown and Company). Pour yourself a cup of coffee and settle in for a treat.

Linda Fallon encounters her former lover, Thomas Janes, while they are both reading their work at a literary festival. Now in their early fifties and both finally free to pursue a life together, their pasts loom before them, pasts littered with passion, guilt and regret.

Linda, at last being seriously recognized, had been ma
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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
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The 'ending' of "Last Time They Met" 9 80 Apr 15, 2014 03:11PM  
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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
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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.” 17 likes
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