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Last Orders (1996)

by Graham Swift

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,805445,145 (3.56)242
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.
  1. 00
    Old Filth by Jane Gardam (chrisharpe)
  2. 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.
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» See also 242 mentions

English (41)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (44)
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
Rare that I read about male friendship (frenemyship?), especially at this age. A good recommendation for men whose fathers are dead or dying, which I appreciate is niche. Not a patch on Mothering Sunday, mind ( )
  alexrichman | Mar 15, 2024 |
Reason read: Booker award winner of 1996, by Graham Swift of a journey that group of war veterans make from Bermondsey to Margate to spread the ashes of one of them who has died. This book reminded me of As I Lay Dying by Faulkner and I guess the author did write this in homage to Faulkner. Last Orders can stand for the wish of the dead man to have his ashes scattered at sea or the last call for drinks at a bar. I liked the story well enough but I do think I liked As I Lay Dying more. ( )
  Kristelh | Sep 4, 2023 |
Firstly this book is a lot shorter than it appears, the print is big and there are many small chapters. I got through it very quickly. It starts off in a pub and spends quite a lot of time there throughout the book. It covers a day when 4 men take a friends ashes from London to Margate to scatter them into the sea, but as the day progresses we hear more about their lives, relationships, families, and past history. Its a bit bloke-centric but overall I liked how the emotional background between them all gradually revealed itself in a quiet unassuming way. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Jul 12, 2023 |
As the story opens, Jack has died and four of his friends are gathered in a London pub to carry out his last wishes regarding scattering his ashes. This small group of characters reminisces about Jack, which leads them to musings about the past. We learn their backstories through flashbacks, along with facts about Jack’s life. It is told in an atmospheric way. The tone is wistful. It is a quiet and reflective story. It is not all that dynamic, but I enjoyed it and am glad I read it. This book won the Booker Prize in 1996.

3.5 ( )
  Castlelass | Jan 6, 2023 |
Thius is the story of a group of friends in England who are charged with carrying out the "last orders" of Jack Dodds, that of scattering his ashes into the sea at Margate. Each chapter is told in the voice of a different character weaving back and forth through time.

Even though this book was a Booker Prize winner, I found it very hard to read. I couldn't keep the characters straight. I couldn't follow some of the local dialect and felt, with that, I was losing some of the story. I finished it, but only because others have thought of it more highly than myself, and I wanted to see why. ( )
  SqueakyChu | May 28, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Swift, Grahamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Häilä, ArtoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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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.

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Average: (3.56)
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