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Last Orders by Graham Swift
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Last Orders (1996)

by Graham Swift

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,291373,991 (3.61)187
  1. 00
    Ostrich Boys by Keith Gray (celerydog)
    celerydog: A bunch of teen boys kidnap their friend Ross's ashes and take 'him' to Ross. Fun road trip, amazing insights via highly believable characters. Outstanding.
  2. 00
    Old Filth by Jane Gardam (chrisharpe)
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» See also 187 mentions

English (34)  Hebrew (1)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
Excerpts from my original GR review (Sep 2010):
- The novel was awarded the Man Booker Prize for 1996.. It was Graham Swift's sixth novel.
- This story of solemn duty, sprinkled well with farce and painful memories, takes the reader along for a day drive from London to the seaside town of Margate. Four men (or maybe 'blokes' is better), all pub friends of the just-deceased Jack Arthur Dobbs, are faithfully delivering Jack's ashes to the sea as per Jack's last "orders".
- The main narrative takes the men from their Bermondsey pub rendezvous (a bit of lubrication for the trip) onto the roadway and grudgingly, sometimes comically and sometimes contentiously, seaward. Interspersed, however, are enlightening chapters, which shift in narration between the players, who also notably include the absent widow, Amy Dobbs. Each participant in Jack's final act has a memory of regret, deception and/or resentfulness to dredge up.. Their interconnected lives contain secrets, some too late to unearth and others inching their way to the surface.
- Amy's lifelong disappointment in Jack's refusal to perform a simple ritual of respect, and Ray's guilt over both financial and personal misdoings are convincingly told. Animosity between Vince and Lenny erupts into huffing and chuffing, and this scene of flailing about is excellently written.
- Swift's writing has a natural, casual feel in this novel. There is plenty to think of here: dishonest dealings among family and friends; responsibilities toward the severely disabled; the uneasiness of men with their emotions; what defines family?, and so on. Highly enjoyable.. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Mar 25, 2018 |
Four men gather in a London pub. They have taken it upon themselves to carry out the last orders of Jack Dodds, master butcher, and deliver his ashes to the sea. ( )
  jack2410 | Feb 2, 2017 |
The tale of four men driving to the sea to spread the ashes of their friend. Their intertwined lives are revealed in the backstories. Excellently written, humorous, bitter sweet. ( )
  snash | Jun 22, 2016 |
When one of their number dies, drinking pals get together to scatter the ashes following his wishes. In remembering Jack, they remember and relive a lot of other things: misplaced loyalties, missed opportunities, love affairs, business deals, the vagaries of life. On the journey to Margate, Jack's chosen resting place, they argue and behave like the boys they once were, while we realize they know each other less than they think. The black humour fits this story of Londoners. This is an exceptional tale, a well-deserved winner of the Booker Prize 1996. It made for an excellent movie too, with star-filled cast including Michael Caine as Jack and Helen Mirren as Amy. ( )
  VivienneR | Mar 19, 2016 |
I really enjoy life like situations where humour is used to highlight everyday issues. This book, although about losing a loved friend, brings the gang together for the final farewell. ( )
  allysonrabbott | Jul 24, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (11 possible)

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Graham Swiftprimary authorall editionscalculated
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
But man is a Noble Animal, splendid in ashes, and pompous in the grave.

Sir Thomas Browne: Urn Burial
I do like to be beside the seaside.

John A. Glover-Kind
Dedication
For Al
First words
It aint like your regular sort of day.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679766626, Paperback)

From the author of Waterland and Ever After, Last Orders is a quiet but dazzling novel about a group of men, friends since the Second World War, whose lives revolve around work, family, the racetrack, and their favorite pub. When one of them dies, the survivors drive his ashes from London to a seaside town where they will be scattered, compelling them to take stock in who they are today, who they were before, and the shifting relationships in between. Both funny and moving, this won the Booker Prize in 1996.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:16 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In England three working-class buddies, united by pub-drinking and World War II experiences, drive the ashes of the fourth to the sea. In the process emerge the lives of four families and the reason no wife came. By the author of Ever after.

» see all 7 descriptions

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HighBridge Audio

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge Audio.

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HighBridge

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

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