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The Last Time They Met
The Last Time They Met
Author: Anita Shreve
A man and a woman sustain a life-long passionate relationship even though they have been together only three times. — At a literary festival in Toronto, Linda Fallon encounters the man who was once at the center of her life: Thomas Janes, the famous poet. Since last seeing him, she has married, given birth, and been widowed. Thomas' appearance ro...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780316781268
ISBN-10: 0316781266
Publication Date: 2001
Pages: 352
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.

3.4 stars, based on 399 ratings
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Last Time They Met on + 94 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
After I finished this book I had to go on-line and read reviews and comments on this book to make sure I understood the ending. I did. This book is very unconventional. It starts out with Linda and Thomas meeting at a writers convention when they are in their 50s. The reader discovers Linda and Thomas have a passionate history. Very little of the history is revealed. What is revealed is the obvious attraction and deep love these two people feel for each other. The next section takes you back 26 years to the last time they met in Africa. Shreve spent some time in Africa and did some work there. You can tell the familiarity of the landscape and culture from the writing. It seems fate has brought Linda and Thomas together after almost 10 years apart. I did find it too much of coincidence that you would run into someone you once loved in highschool in the middle of Africa. Shreve did a good job making it believable. The final section of the book is really the beginning of the love story when Thomas and Linda are seniors in highschool. The rest of the mystery is revealed in this section; From Lindas life with her aunt and how she ended up there to the tragic accident that initiated their first separation. And then, the surprise ending. I had to read it 3 times to make sure I understood it. I appreciate Shreves talent as a writer even more after reading this book, reinforcing her place on my favorite author list.
candieb avatar reviewed The Last Time They Met on + 239 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
I consider myself a pretty bright person - at least not stupid, but I did NOT understand the ending of the book. If what it was implying is true, then the rest of the book makes absolutely no sense to me AT ALL. So, do I believe 1 page or the previous 312 pages? ARGGGHHHH!

I also struggled with this book. The prose irritated me and her overuse of italics (I mean really, if someone says something, use quotes!).

Sigh... I dunno. I wanted to like this book, but I just didn't overall. Some of it was really good, but by and large, I found it irritating me. :( I think it had to do with the cross-over of the character of Thomas from Weight of Water... I didn't like him in that book and didn't like him here either.

Worth a read if you are smarter than me - and if someone reads this that understand the ending, enlighten me!
DaisyDee avatar reviewed The Last Time They Met on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This is my favorite Shreve book. There was a lot of back and forth and at times hard to follow, but a great story. I am in such awe of this author. I could not put this down. DO NOT be tempted to read the ending ahead of time. The ending will blow your mind as others have said, but I enjoyed the ending which, to me, totally set this author apart from the others. She went where no one else would dare to. I read this quite a few years ago and this was one of those books that just stayed with me. This is the #1 Shreve book with Eden Close a very close second.
reviewed The Last Time They Met on + 61 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
What an amazing book. The ending will leave you wanting to reread the book again! This is my first by this author and I definitely will read more of her novels.
reviewed The Last Time They Met on + 39 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I've read a number of Anita Shreve's novels, and this one is quite different. That's not to say that it's not good... It definitely is a wonderful story and an interesting read, it's just different from her other books.

This one starts off slowly. I almost gave up after the first few chapters, but because I'm an Anita Shreve fan I stuck with it, and it got much better. I'm glad I stayed with it.

Give it a try. It's unconventional, but I think it's worthwhile!
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reviewed The Last Time They Met on + 11 more book reviews
one of anita shreve's best.
bluebells2 avatar reviewed The Last Time They Met on + 5 more book reviews
A truely wonderful novel! I loved the shocked me!
reviewed The Last Time They Met on + 18 more book reviews
I think I missed something. The book started slow and then picked up. Yet, when I finished it I really felt as though I missed something. I passed it on to a few friends and they felt the same. Not her best work.
Bookfanatic avatar reviewed The Last Time They Met on
One of my favorite books. This is haunting, beautiful, magical and shocking. This is one of those books that is best appreciated by those who are past their 20s. You look back on your life and wonder about the what might have been, what ifs, if onlys. You know that one moment or one event can change the whole course of your entire life.

This tells the story of intense love between Linda and Thomas who first meet as high school teenagers then as young adults and much later as adults just past their prime when both have established themselves in similar careers. He's nationally known poet and she too is a poet, but more moderately successful. The story goes backward from the present to the past. It starts when they meet again in their 50s at a literary conference where both are speakers. They meet only about three times in their adult lives, but they have a deep, believable connection to each other. Their respective spouses, the children they love, and other events keep them apart though they never lose their love for each other. I enjoyed the love story. It's not overly sweet or cloying. I've read a lot of love stories over the years, but this one has stayed with me because it's so surprising and so haunting in its longing. I don't know if I believe in soulmates, but this story makes me want to believe in it. Thomas and Linda are truly two halves of a whole.

Shreve writes with clarity and sparse prose. This isn't some predictable mass market romance novel. The story comes together at the last page and boy, what a stunner it is.
You'll be amazed. What other story ties everything together in the last page and a half. You're either going to love or hate the ending. There's no middle ground.

Now I like the ending. I can take a sad ending, after all stories can't all have happy endings, but the ending of this book comes isn't sad. It's a complete shocker. You'll say to yourself, "Wait! Did I read that right?" You go and read the book again to make sense of it. You realize why the book was written in reverse because that's the only way to make sense of the ending. I loved the ending, but it's painful. At first I was shocked then angry then ultimately I realized the beauty of it. That's all I can say without giving it away. I have to give Shreve credit for the ending. Not many writers can pull off such a surprise. You DO NOT SEE the ending coming AT ALL. You think it might end one of two ways, but no..there's a third option you never saw although it's hinted at here and there. Whether you love the ending or hate it, not many authors can surprise you at the very last page of the story. It's the hallmark of a great writer

I don't want to go on and on about the ending for I fear I might turn away someone from an otherwise great love story. Please read the book, but don't be tempted to read the ending first no matter how tempted you are. Allow yourself to be transported to the very end the way Shreve intended.
catq avatar reviewed The Last Time They Met on
I just adore Anita Shreve; but her obvious attempt to over use "big" words and her heavy- handed use of descriptives, prevented me from really getting to know the characters and the story; I gave up half way through the book. I was very disappointed; sorry Anita!
animlgrl avatar reviewed The Last Time They Met on + 84 more book reviews
Tried twice to get into this book, just couldn't get into it. The lead character, Linda. She annoyed me. Not one of Shreve's best....have really enjoyed her other books though.
reviewed The Last Time They Met on
Beautifully sad book, I would reccomend any fan of real life love stories to read it. Anita Shreve has a writing style that takes you captive from the minute you pick up the book to the last word you read. You live through the characters and the choices they make are just as devistating to you as they are to them.
imnotporcelain avatar reviewed The Last Time They Met on
Please see my review here for Woman Scope News Magazine of this book:
Readnmachine avatar reviewed The Last Time They Met on + 1439 more book reviews
This story of a man and woman who fall in love as teenagers but go on to marry others and who meet twice as adults, seemed like a story of people who just weren't quite brave enough to kick over the traces and do what it would take for them to be together. Then I got to the last page, and had the props kicked out from under me. Shreve loses points here bigtime for not playing fair with the reader.
readnroks avatar reviewed The Last Time They Met on + 28 more book reviews
This book had so many twists and the ending was unexpected
reviewed The Last Time They Met on + 63 more book reviews
Linda fallon encounters her former lover, Thomas Janes, at a literary festival where both have been invited to give readings from their work. The book tells the story of their love and lives from teh present back through time.
tripletmom avatar reviewed The Last Time They Met on + 225 more book reviews
Slow moving. Does get better towards the end.
reviewed The Last Time They Met on + 90 more book reviews
Excellent story, captivating, imaginative
reviewed The Last Time They Met on + 33 more book reviews
Well written, typical of Shreve's style.
reviewed The Last Time They Met on
So incredibly done. From start to finish this is an amazing love story that you don't fully understand till the very last page. You become so intertwined with the characters I was just holding my breath from what I thought would be the inevitable outcome. I truly celebrated with them and felt their pain. Even though their relationship is never right I couldn't help feel the unfairness for them both as they struggle to move on in lives without each other. Brilliant!! The story is very well done.
reviewed The Last Time They Met on
Great book...especially if you like Shreve's previous titles...