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Every Last Cuckoo

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  1,339 Ratings  ·  313 Reviews
Sarah Lucas imagined the rest of her days would be spent living peacefully in her rural Vermont home in the steadfast company of her husband. But now, with Charles's sudden passing, seventy-five-year-old Sarah is left inconsolably alone.

As grief settles in, Sarah's mind lingers on her past: her imperfect but devoted fifty-year marriage to Charles; the years they spent rai
Kindle Edition
Published (first published January 22nd 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Fiction debut, not perfect, but with potential

The Hook 2016 Reading Plan – bookWomen, Vol.16, No.2, Dec.2011-Jan.2012 Pg.4, Recommendation of Josephine Schiff.
The appeal was the promise of woman in her seventies finding a new life after the death of her husband.

The Line ”Her memories were beads jumbled loose in a box, unstrung.” pg.6

The SinkerEvery Last Cuckoo won the American Library Association Reading List Award for Best Adult Genre (Women’s) Fiction.

Seventy-five year old Sarah Lucas, fin
Jul 07, 2010 Lize rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Pulled this one off the shelf at home as a palate-cleanser after "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and it did nicely as such (in that it had no torture scenes). How refreshing/fascinating/unusual to have a 75 year-old female protagonist--and how sad that this is remarkable. It's about Sarah, who fills her Vermont farmhouse home with a variety of boarders after the death of her beloved husband, Charles, because she has fond memories of her parents doing the same thing during the Great Depression. The ...more
Dec 11, 2009 Yolanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Yolanda by: Relyn
I loved this book.Thanks so much Relyn for recommending it.
This book drew me in for the start and kept me interested. It really spoke to my heart at where I am in my life right now.
I think that I very closely identified with Sarah the main character in that I am finally at 46 comfortable in my own skin and at a point where I am not obcessed with being wealthy,keeping up with the Jones or having the perfect house. I am content to just enjoy life and each day that comes.

I think that this books spe
Jan 12, 2008 Justin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In an American fictional tradition that rarely addresses the elderly on any significant level, Oregon writer Kate Maloy's debut novel stands out with a 75-year-old woman as its centerpiece.

In Every Last Cuckoo, Sarah Lucas lives a peaceful, pleasant life with her naturalist husband Charles in rural Vermont. They spend their twilight years puttering around the surrounding woods and eating meals with family and friends. In these opening chapters, Maloy skillfully layers details of the couple's hi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chocolate & Croissants

As I sit here to write my review about Every Last Cuckoo, I have one question. How did this book manage to sit on my shelf for so long? Look at how gorgeous the cover is. Based on the cover alone, I should have pulled it off my shelf months ago. It probably sat on my shelf for about 7 months. Which I suppose is not that long. I own books that have been sitting for years unmoved. Unbelievable I know.

When you look at the cover what does it say to you. Home, comfort, a little eclectic. It almost re
Feb 26, 2013 Alyssa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up from off the shelf because of the colorful cover (yes, I judge that way) and because it was one of NPR's featured books in their "Chapter a Day" series.

From the first page I enjoyed Maloy's style of writing, and I loved Sarah, the main character. It was refreshing to read a story that came from the point of view of a 70-something who was going through a major shift in her life. The love between Sarah & Charles, the larger family dynamics, and the beautiful a
Jul 20, 2010 Marvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful novel! There should be more novels about older people. I've read some good ones. (This one reminds me of Wallace Stegner's wonderful Crossing to Safety, with its focus on the strong relationship of an elderly couple.) Here, we're told the story of one year in the life of a 75-year-old woman who lives in rural Vermont--an amazing character--and her relationships with family & friends. She learns (or relearns) that to love is to live with loss, but chooses to love anyway (whic ...more
Mar 13, 2009 Bobi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lezlee Hays
Feb 21, 2011 Lezlee Hays rated it it was ok
I can't figure out if I just wasn't in the mood for this type of book or if it just seriously annoyed the heck out of me because it was written in such a way as to seriously annoy the heck out of me. First off, I was just bored nearly to tears until about 150 pages into the book - and I'm willing to wade through that if there's going to be some kind of pay off. But for me - there just never really was. Every time I thought I figured out where there was going to be an interesting plot line...ther ...more
Jul 09, 2009 Gloria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the more beautiful books I've read in quite awhile.

Sarah, an elderly woman who's just lost her husband, is keenly feeling her age and what she perceives as being "useless" now. But life throws at her an abundance of those who suddenly "need" her in different ways.

One of the things I loved most about this book was the fully-developed character of Sarah. And the writing was gorgeous. It didn't trivialize nor romanticize the life of an elderly woman-- rather it showed her as a "whol
Jun 25, 2009 Relyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women everywhere
Recommended to Relyn by: Elizabeth Berg
Oh. I liked this book. I really, really liked this book. I marked it five stars, but you know how picky I try to be with my five stars. This one is a four and a half star by my record keeping. Anyway.

I read about this book on Elizabeth Berg's blog. She discovered it and really enjoyed it. Me, too. It took my breath away, actually. Jeffrey asked me what it was about and I had a hard time answering. I finally said something like this: It's about a long, long marriage. About widowhood. About life
Apr 15, 2008 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always loved the "and they lived happily ever after", but after having children of my own I started to look for something a little bit more. Thgere is so much of life left after the start of the "happily ever after". This book main charachter is 75 and I enjoyed her story. The prose was excellent and thought provoking, there were many passages throughout the book that were poignant in their simplicity and beautifully written. There were also passages I could have lived without, do I really ...more
Deborah Klein
The theme is an important one - the life and marriage of an elderly couple, and how one goes on w/o the other. But the story is ridiculous. All wounds are healed, all broken relationships are mended, a group of disparate people live together in magical harmony, everyone is wise. In addition, the vistas are beautiful, the homes are gorgeous, warm and welcoming, the food delicious etc. Beyond the theme, it is a tea party of a book. I would have welcomed a book dealing wth the real issues of an eld ...more
Pauline Tilbe
Feb 24, 2013 Pauline Tilbe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't know what to expect but the title intrigued me and the blurb sounded like something I'd like. Plus I loved the cover. I really enjoyed the characters in this book, the setting in Vermont and the descriptions made me feel like I was right there with them in the story. Sarah reveals her present and little bits of her past through the this story. Her ups and downs. I love how she came to acknowledge her faults and even how she resolved differences.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I'm so
Apr 25, 2008 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Life's too short not to embrace it. Why does it often take tragic situations to truly feel this way?
Jan 23, 2017 tbears rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3-1/2 stars - The extra 1/2 star earned when the book became more interesting after the husband's death and the cuckoos took nest in Sarah's home. The cuckoos were a great cast of characters of all ages, although there were so many I often got them mixed up. Beautiful scenery and photography descriptions. A good, heartwarming story.
Tammy Ingham
I couldn't actually get beyond the third chapter. The writing had no rhythm, was too descriptive of nothing, and the conversations felt forced and stilted. It just didn't grab me in any manner, and I felt like I was reading someone's book report. It may have gotten better if I had forged ahead, but I just couldn't do it.
Kat Walter
Flat and lifeless...unlike the beautiful, inviting and colorful cover. Characters never came alive for me.
Mar 11, 2017 Melissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ok 2.5. Not quite a 3. Interesting characters simple writing that tries too hard. So predictable And then left some characters out at the end. Totally hanging! It was an ok read for book club. I'm sure many will like this book but there are so so many better books out there. I did love that the main character was an older woman
Marnie Kaplan
May 02, 2012 Marnie Kaplan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It inspired me, made me realize it’s never too late to try new things, to discover a new part of yourself, to set out to create a larger family. Who would have thought a book about a 75 year old widow would be so engaging, informative and compelling. I guess the truth is we don't have to read about people who are like us. We learn the most from stepping inside the mindset of those who are different from us.

Seventy-five year old Sarah Lucas is in mourning over the love of her l
Mar 08, 2011 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of popular fiction
This was a very satisfying story. I found it because it was a book club selection at my local library. I read it at a perfect time for me, as I had just lost my last grandparent, a loving, stubborn and completely fascinating 92 year old grandfather who had lived independently in his own home in Massachusetts right up to the time of his death. I read this book during our trip up there for his memorial service and I saw so much of our own family members in the lines; not necessarily within any par ...more
Alison C
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This novel pays tribute to the value of the everyday in our lives, quietly pointing out that what holds us together and what makes life worthwhile are the bonds that we have with each other. There is great attention paid to the natural world in this story, set in rural Vermont where forest and woodland creatures are as much a part of the protagonist's life as her long-time home and domestic pets. Sarah is in her 70s, living quietly with Ch
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
Charles and Sarah are an older married couple who’ve raised three children. Like most marriages, theirs has had its ups and downs, but they’ve settled into a happy, comfortable routine. Their three children are grown and successful, but Charles struggles with his relationship with their son David and Sarah and their daughter Charlotte have their differences. Their other son, Tom brings home a lovely young woman and life seems good.

When Charles passes away unexpectedly, Sarah finds herself at loo
Aug 19, 2008 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-fiction
Sarah Lucas had a steady, predictable life in Vermont. She enjoyed order, cleanliness, her grown children and grandchildren, her friends, and a husband she loved very much. At 75 she was a peace with her life even if she had a few regrets. When her husband unexpectedly died (as unexpected as death can be when age creeps up on you), she's at a loss and her world falls out from under her. She ends up taking in a houseful of "refugees" - kids kicked out of their homes (including her own granddaught ...more
Mar 18, 2011 Lora rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Picked up this book for a hopeful nice vacation read. It started out strong, but fizzled for me after the first 80 pages. Frustrating. Struggled with keeping track of all the characters and who they were. A lot of non-religious pondering on death and the afterlife. The author seemed scared to even intimate that there may be a religious aspect at all. "Maybe we're all born remembering another world, which we have to forget in order to live in this one." (127) I, however, appreciated the nice roma ...more
Jan 11, 2013 Gary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: More thoughtful people
Recommended to Gary by: Book group
This book read like a Jan Karon novel, except without the Christian thought behind it. The book lets the reader understand that us old people do have a life which we value and which can be found fulfilling. Life does not stop at 60.

Maloy says that the book is for her Mom and Grandmother, as well as her aunt whom she thinks Sarah resembles. As I am reading the book, I gathered that Maloy also hopes she can turn into the woman which Sarah develops into after her husband's death. There is a certain
A cuckoo bird will sometimes put itself into the nest of another bird and make its home there. After Sarah (75 years old) loses her husband, she struggles with how to make a new life for herself without Charles. She does so by inadvertently taking in a house full of borders who need somewhere to live. The “cuckoos” in her house include family (her granddaughter), friends (more teenagers) and strangers in need. One includes an Israeli man who left his country to write a book. Another is a couple ...more
Feb 11, 2017 Kathleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book so entertaining I read it twice which is something I don't usually do. Alright, I admit it was a senior moment. It came across my Kindle on my phone and I read it again thinking it sounded familiar. I enjoyed this family adventure of human kindness. Good character development made it an interesting read.
Jul 21, 2009 L rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
You know, there were reasons women fought to expand their worlds beyond home and family. If you every need a refresher on the issue, pick up this book. It is a celebration of that small world and so filled with details of the minutia of home and family it made my teeth hurt! It isn't that Maloy doesn't write beautifully; she does. It isn't that her characters aren't fully drawn and probably interesting people; they are. But . . .

We know from the back cover that Sarah will be widowed in her mid-s
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Kate Maloy is the author of the memoir A Stone Bridge North: Reflections in a New Life. Her work has been published by,, and the Readerville Journal. She has forthcoming pieces in the Kenyon Review and two anthologies: For Keeps and Choice. She lives with her husband on the central coast of Oregon.
More about Kate Maloy...

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“Her memories were beads jumbled loose in a box, unstrung.” 4 likes
“I saw in one flash that the most courageous thing a person can do is to love without being afraid.” 2 likes
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