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The Last Family in England by Matt Haig
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The Last Family in England (edition 2005)

by Matt Haig

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2081156,261 (3.51)42
Member:neelypeel
Title:The Last Family in England
Authors:Matt Haig
Info:Vintage (2005), Edition: New Ed, Paperback
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The Last Family in England by Matt Haig

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I am a sucker for dogs; so obviously I am a sucker for books involving dogs. The Labrador Pact is one sweet and insightful book that gives us a different perspective of a family crumbling down. The story is told by the Hunter's black lab called Prince. Through very smart prose and spot on phrases, Prince tells us the story of how the Hunters are in grave danger of disintegrating as a family and how he, bound to the Labrador Pact, has a duty to protect the Family at all costs. Even if these actions could cost him his life. A fabulous sad story all in all, with a bittersweet ending that will make you sigh as you turn the last page. ( )
  AleAleta | Apr 21, 2014 |
'Nobody knows exactly how the Springer Uprising started. Or how. There are different stories, but it happened too quickly for anybody to be sure. Within no time at all, Springer spaniels could be found in almost every part of the country, spreading the word.' 'Dogs for Dogs, not for Humans' and 'Pleasure before Duty' say the Springers and more and more dogs follow their lead.

But of course Labradors are everything Springer spaniels are not: dutiful; obedient; prepared to sacrifice everything for their masters. So Prince, a young black Labrador, is a fervent adherent to the Labrador Pact, a resistance movement which reveres the Family as the most beautiful aspect of human existence, and the proper environment for a dog to live. 'Duty over All' is the motto of the Pact and Prince tries to follow this creed as dogs all around him live for the moment. But his family is falling apart: suicide attempts, marriage, breakdown and teenage problems mean that Prince's attempts to protect his family become more and more desperate.

The Last Family in England is a black comedy which starts with Prince awaiting his final appointment with the vet, and tells the story of how his breaking of the Pact led him to that position. I didn't enjoy this one as much as The Radleys by the same author which I read last year, but still a decent book and a good holiday read. And as someone who used to own a Springer Spaniel, the idea that Springers are responsible for an uprising makes perfect sense! ( )
  SandDune | Apr 20, 2013 |
Sadly this book didn't grab me in the way that Haig's other book, The Radleys, did. I loved the idea of the Labrador Pact, loved Prince - he reminded me of my aunt's labrador, Fred - but I found the family so tiresome and two dimensional, even when mitigated through a dog's eyes I just couldn't care about them enough to really engage with the book properly. ( )
  riverwillow | May 26, 2012 |
Heartbreaking page turner about a labrador who does all he can to save his family. ( )
  atreic | May 21, 2012 |
This is the one that I swore I wasn't going to listen to once I found out after purchasing it that the dog dies.

Labradors share a special special pact to take care of their family. This is the story of a labrador's eye view of one family's disintegration. The more our narrator tries to fix things, the more out of control they become.

Partly I chose to listen to this because I was intrigued to read that it is a retelling of Shakespeare's Henry IVth part II. Our four footed narrator's name is Prince. His best doggy friend is named Falstaff. Things go wrong and no matter how hard our hero tries to change this, bodies (dogs and humans) pile up, including, at the end our narrator.

You do find out in the first few sentences that the dog will be put down. However, it seems so inevitable from the beginning, so much the classic tragedy, that I didn't have the same emotional reaction that I do to most stories where the animal dies. ( )
  streamsong | Apr 14, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 009946845X, Paperback)

An original and fun first novel destined for cult success.

Meet the Hunters: Adam, a teacher, his wife Kate, and their teenage children Hal and Charlotte. But it is Prince, the family’s black Labrador, who is the narrator and protagonist of this tale.

An earnest young dog, Prince strives hard to live up to the tenets of the Labrador Pact: “Duty Over All” — that duty being to serve and protect their Family at any cost. Other dogs, led by the Springer Spaniels, have revolted. (Their slogans are “Dogs for Dogs, not for Humans” and “Pleasure not Duty.”) Prince takes his responsibilities seriously, but as things begin to go awry in the Hunter family, they threaten to overwhelm him. It all starts when a new couple moves into the house overlooking the park. Soon Adam is besotted with Emily, while her husband Simon seems to have played a significant part in Kate’s past. Young Hal is tripping on acid with his rowdy friends, while Charlotte is having boyfriend problems and tries to end it all with an overdose. And down in the park, it’s even worse: Henry the elderly Lab has disappeared; Emily’s dog Falstaff wants to lead Prince astray; has Lear the Rottweiler killed Joyce the Irish Wolfhound? In the end, Prince is forced to break the Labrador Pact and take desperate action to save his Family.

The Last Family in England is funny, sad, quirky and — incidentally — a clever reworking of Henry IV Part II.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:22:45 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Meet the Hunter family - Adam, a teacher, his wife Kate, and their children Hal, 17, and Charlotte, 13. When a new couple move into their street, Adam is besotted with Emily, the beautiful aromatherapist, while her husband Simon seems to have played a significant part in Kate's past.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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