Book Talk: *Every Last One*, by Anna Quindlen


Every Last One: A Novel by Anna Quindlen

Every Last One: A Novel
Anna Quindlen
Random House (2010), Hardcover (ISBN 1400065747 / 9781400065745), E-Books (eISBN 9780679603726)
Fiction, 299 pages

Source: purchase (e-book)

Publisher's Description

One of the notable qualities of Anna Quindlen's latest novel, Every Last One is the finely-crafted details, every last one. The author uses the proverbial thousand words, and then some, to create a fully realized picture of the day-to-day life of the Latham family - mom and business owner Mary Beth, doctor dad Glen, and their three busy teenagers, daughter Ruby and fraternal-twin sons Alex and Max. The Latham house is a second home to many of their children's friends as well, particularly Ruby's. The family has its issues, but for the most part they're close-knit, functional, and weren't at all difficult for me to understand and relate to. They're so everyday, in fact, you might begin to wonder why they even merit a story.

I'd read a few reviews of Every Last One before I read the book, and I knew something happened partway through that turned the story on its head, but I didn't know the details - and I won't spoil you with them, either. I tried to anticipate and guess what would happen, though; I was wrong - and utterly stunned. But what didn't change from that point on was Quindlen's focus on the details, as she continued to build and develop her characters and make their situation feel convincing and real.

It feels like a lot of the books I read specifically for review are authors' first and second novels, but when I choose books for myself I have many favorite writers I like to come back to, and I appreciate being brought through a story by a seasoned pro. For my money, this is Quindlen's best novel in some time, and may turn out to be among the best fiction I read this year - the story was riveting, I cared about the characters, and the writing was accomplished and somehow unobtrusive at the same time. I read almost two-thirds of this on an airplane; while it's probably the opposite of "escapist" fiction, it was excellent vacation reading.

Rating: 4/5

Originally posted at The 3 R's Blog: Reading, 'Riting, and Randomness

 

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