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Last Day

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  128 ratings  ·  58 reviews
The fates of a cast of seemingly unconnected people converge during the celebration of an ancient holiday in a thought-provoking debut that brings to mind such novels as Station Eleven and The Age of Miracles.

In Domenica Ruta's profoundly original novel, the end of the world comes once a year. Every May 28, humanity gathers to anticipate the planet's demise--and to celebra
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 28th 2019 by Spiegel & Grau
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3.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  128 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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Dec 01, 2018 marked it as not-released-tbr
Book:Sarah is a bookish teenager
Kasa Cotugno
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, genre-dystopian
How clever to have publication of this book take place on what in this dystopian world is known as "last day." May 28. So will this be the final day on earth? The world depicted here, the people, are recognizable in today's reality, except that every year there is a worldwide "celebration" anticipating the end of the world on a certain date, and butterfly-effect like, Ruta lays out the interconnectivity of us all. Absorbing and readable.
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Are you thinking…oh great, another female author another female centered end of the world? Well, don’t, this isn’t like that at all. Yes, it is a story of the last day on Earth, but it’s set in a world very much like our own with the major distinction being that Last Day is thing celebrated every May every year. It’s a day of atonement, amendments, forgiveness and so on. It’s actually fraught with meaning the way few celebratory occasions are anymore. But then again it also in a way trivializes ...more
Feb 06, 2019 marked it as to-read
I loved the unique concept of Last Day when I read the synopsis. Every year in May people celebrate the end of the world or not. Imagine being happy about the apocalypse! It's odd yet fascinating. During this day, Last Day, the story follows numerous characters. Somehow, all of these characters intersect with one another in their lives. There are too many characters to keep track of here, but I think it's supposed to be that way. It's a busy day, a lot of people, noise, activity, drama, happines ...more
Ann (Inky)
Congratulations! It is well into June, and it appears that we have survived another year--dodged another bullet, or, another apocalypse--as we wave goodbye to May 28th, fading in our rearview window along with the first half of 2019.

Remember back in 2012, when lots of people were convinced that one day in December was the date the Mayan calendar stopped, deeming it to be the end of the world? Remember when nothing happened? Before that, it was the Y2K scare. (And those examples are only from my
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fresh and incisive slice of our world on the edge of its inevitable end, LAST DAY is an absorptive and compelling work from a brilliant voice in American fiction.
Debi Hawkes
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
The premise; an annual celebration, around the world of the impending apocalypse was intriguing. The various forms the celebrations take are shared through several main and secondary characters whose storylines occasionally remotely intertwine, was quite fascinating.

The author is quite gifted, able to succinctly convey so many themes, and carry so many storylines.

My only issue with the book is the multiple characters and storylines, my head felt over full remembering who was who, how they connec
DNF @ 25% - Could not connect with the characters and the story is a bit of a drag by that point...
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2019, arc
(I received a free copy from Random House)

So I didn't love this one. It's about a fictional holiday called "Last Day," where every year humans celebrate what might be their last day on Earth (May 28th was once predicted to be the end of the world). Each year, though, the sun still rises and life carries on. But will it this year? We follow Sarah, a young girl fixated on a much older tattoo artist; Karen, a troubled woman who begins to hear voices; and Bear, an astronaut on the International Spac
Mar 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. It’s a decent book. Nothing like Station Eleven though. The theme and content are slightly different so I’m not sure comparing the two is a great idea. Additionally I didn’t connect to many of the characters. I liked Karen. I think less characters to follow would have been better. However it’s a decent book so if you like this sort of book give it a shot!
May 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
I received this ARC for free and this review is my unbiased opinion.

If I had a 50-page rule this would be a DNF review. Somewhere between page 50 and 100, I started to get interested in the characters and became curious as to how the book would end. Would this be a "Last Day" like all of the rest where people celebrated (?) what ultimately wasn't the last day on Earth? Or, would it be The "Last Day"? I'm not sure what happened but I lost interest again but since I had invested so much into the b
Feb 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
2.5 stars rounded up to 3. I was drawn in by the premise (I love a good old apocalypse) and especially by the comparison to Station Eleven. While I did enjoy the prose, I never felt a connection to any of the characters, so most of the story felt like it was dragging on while I was just trying to find out what happened next. I didn't really care what happened to any of these people. Station Eleven this is not -- the comparison stops at the apocalyptic theme. That said, since I only finish about ...more
May 02, 2019 rated it liked it
On the night of May 27-May 28 on an alternate earth, people around the world celebrate Last Night. The holiday has ancient roots. On this night, people try to make amends to people they’ve wrong; make sacrifices; or just light bonfires, drink, and have a good time. Domenica Ruta’s Last Day jumps from character to character on one Last Night in an unknown year. All of the characters are isolated from their friends and families for a variety of reasons. All are seeking something—a sense of connect ...more
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-arc
Last Day by Domenica Ruta describes how different people "celebrate" the Last Day, a yearly holiday in anticipating of the end of the world. Focusing on several characters, including a team on an international space station, a tattoo artist, a teen girl, Ruta depicts existential dread in various forms and flavors. I really liked the different characters, and the ending definitely stuck with me. It's very bleak and dark with unlikable characters, which worked for me in this book (though I don't a ...more
Robin Robertson
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Every May 28, people around the world celebrate Last Day. Each culture, in their own ways and rituals, gather to spend the day as their last.
In this story we meet several characters interwoven throughout the book. Three astronauts on the International Space Station, a tattoo artist, and a Jehovah Witness woman, are just a few people we meet celebrating this ancient holiday.
I love books(and movies) exploring the end of earth. This book is a good addition to the genre. I liked the writing, the c
Ian Mond
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
My review of this novel is published in the July 2019 issue of Locus.
May 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Once a year on May 28, all of humanity gather to celebrate the day of the planet's demise. People party and act as it is the last day they are alive. Sarah is a bookish wunderkind who is looking for love. She felt that she has always been asexual but, she finds herself attracted to an older man, Kurt. Sarah and Kurt met last year during her parents' Last Day BBQ. Kurt is a tattoo artist who is trying to make amends to a family he destroyed years ago.

Karen consistently gets in trouble. She was ab
May 22, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a really interesting and unique novel. A part of me wants to mull it over for a week or two before writing my review, but I decided to write while it's all still fresh in my head and I'm a little unsteady about the whole thing. The concept pulled me in - all across earth, people from around the world are celebrating a holiday called Last Day. It was predicted long ago that the world would end on a certain day, so every year on the day before it is supposed to happen, people gather in pre ...more
Shoshana Goldberg
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, netgalley
3.5 stars rounded down to 3, since the ending was so upsetting I had nightmares.

Last Day tells the story of multiple characters, connected by varying degrees of separation, as they celebrate the international holiday "Last Day,' which is an annual celebration of the anticipated end of the world. These characters range the gamut from an asexual adolescent on a journey of self-discovery, to a special needs woman trying to track down her family, to a tattoo artist attempting to make amends, to ast
Apr 17, 2019 rated it liked it
**2.5 Stars** This is now the second book I've read that has been compared to 'Station Eleven', and it's the second book I've read that is NOTHING LIKE 'STATION ELEVEN'. I really wish publishers would STOP comparing their mediocre dystopian-esq novels to the beautiful story that is 'Station Eleven'. It just pisses readers off and sets them up for disappointment. Also, this story is NOT dystopian. At all.


I'll start this review by telling readers what they REALLY want to know while readi
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
In an alternate but identical universe, May 27 is Last Day, celebrated around the world as the final day of humanity’s existence … every year. The origins of this annual worldwide holiday are buried in myth, but no one really believes the world will end on any particular May 28. After all, there are mattress sales, beer-soaked festivals, and free tattoos dispensed at a Boston shop.

This particular May 27 starts at the International Space Station, where two astronauts — one Russian, the other Ame
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounding up to 4. To begin, the whole Station Eleven comparison/blurb should be removed. It sets expectations that this book sadly for me, did not reach. I LOVE dystopian fiction. I read nearly every mainstream dystopian novel that gets published. To me, dystopia it is more about the survivors, finding a way of coming together and moving forward after a devastation, and striking a new balance.

This book was not that. This book takes place on an annual holiday sometime in the alternate/n
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I find Ruta is a genius of sentence construction, and of world construction. Her imagination somehow has room for all of these characters, and for this slightly alternate universe. I found hers to be honest and realistic even when, for this one day every year, nothing feels really real. I love when a book alternates between characters (or in this case, sets of characters) and I can be completely pulled in to whatever one I'm reading at the moment. Such was the case with Last Day. While I didn't ...more
Brenda Scanzillo
Feb 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Described as an apocalyptic tale and compared to Station 11, Heartbreaker, and other novels I loved, I was sure Last Day by Domenica Ruta was right up my alley and was thrilled to receive an ARC from NetGalley and Random House in exchange for an honest review. Ruta’s novel follows the stories of a host of characters throughout the Last Day holiday as all converge on one increasingly ominous-seeming event.

I don’t think the comparison to Station 11 is accurate, as this isn’t a post-apocalyptic or
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The novel Last Day takes place in current times, however, in this story each year on May 28th people worldwide celebrate the holiday, Last Day, an anticipation of the planet’s demise. The details of celebration differ depending on what country and/or city you live in, but the purpose is the same: If today is the last day on Earth, what would you/should you do with that time? The plot follows three subtly interconnected sets of characters as they set about this task. I love the juxtaposition of c ...more
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Last Day", set perhaps in the present or near future, centers around Bear, Svec and Yui, three astronauts aboard an international space station; along with a number of individuals on earth, among them, Kurt, Karen and Sarah.
Everyone is interconnected in some way, and also connected in that it is the annual "Last Day" holiday, when tradition dictates that the world might end that night.
I found myself engaged deeply in the story and driven by the narrative if not the characters, who were not all
May 31, 2019 rated it liked it
LAST DAY (out now) was up and down for me — some huge high points, and some low points too. A high concept centers around a few main characters, slightly related, all celebrating a fictional holiday called Last Day. Every May 28th, most of the world honors the inevitable end of the world with apologies, surprise tattoos, cook-outs, and much more. What the characters don’t know, however, is that the actual end of the world may be not that far away.

Such a great idea for a novel, and while this boo
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This novel is a stellar exploration of a motley crew of memorable characters and an examination of the importance of rituals and traditions in the face of the potential end of the world. But perhaps most obviously, it's an amazing illustration on the unlikely connections very disparate people forge and the necessity of this connection to sustain our hearts and sanity. The author writes so lyrically that I found myself highlighting passages to review later because I found them so affecting. There ...more
Joy Clark
May 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019, aoc, netgalley-arc
The premise of this novel is interesting. It follows four different people as they celebrate Last Day - an annual holiday antipating the end of the world. The characters are interesting and flawed, each searching for something, whether that be a connection, redemption, etc. If it sounds cliched, that's kind of how it comes across. There was nothing new here, and the characters felt disjointed at times (except Karen, I kind of loved quirky, traumatized Karen). I'm not even sure how to characteriz ...more
Ramona Mead
Apr 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: advanced-copies
While the comparisons to Station Eleven aren't accurate, this is a unique, intriguing novel. The writing is skilled, full of feeling and vivid imagery. We meet a series of flawed humans who we follow throughout the course of one day. These characters are deep, complicated, and despite their mistakes, worth rooting for. I enjoyed the story and the connections the characters make. As a whole, though I found it unsatisfying. Perhaps it went over my head, or I haven't had enough time to throughly pr ...more
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Domenica Ruta was born and raised in Danvers, Massachusetts. She is a graduate of Oberlin College and holds an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin. She was a finalist for the Keene Prize for Literature and has been awarded residencies at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Blue Mountain Center, Jentel, and Hedgebrook.
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