Anita Shreve, the bestselling author of The Pilot's Wife, returns with a dazzling new novel about love, forgiveness, and paths not followed.
Linda Fallon encounters her former lover, Thomas Janes, at a literary festival where both have been invited to give readings from their work. It has been years since their paths crossed, and in that time Thomas has become a kind of literary legend. His renown is enhanced by his elusiveness; for most of the past decade, he has remained in seclusion following a devastating loss.
This is no chance meeting. Thomas learned that Linda was reading at the festival and chose this moment to reestablish contact with a woman he passionately pursued years earlier. Their affair was disastrous, and a turning point in both their lives. Neither the intensity of their relationship nor the damage it did has ever been far from his memory. From the moment they speak, The Last Time They Met unfolds the story of Linda and Thomas in an extraordinary way: it travels back into their past, bypassing layers of memory and interpretation to present their earlier encounters with unshakable immediacy. In Africa, when Linda and Thomas were twenty-seven, and in Massachusetts, when they were in high school, the novel re-creates love at its exhilarating pinnacle - the kind of intense connection that becomes the true north against which all relationships are measured. Moving backward through time, The Last Time They Met traces the extraordinary resonance a single choice, even a single word, can have over the course of a lifetime. At the same time, the novel creates an almost unbearable mystery, a mystery that can only be understood fully in the novel's final pages, in the eyes of young Linda Fallon and the young man who loves her.
With a master's control of phrase, observation, emotion, and character, Anita Shreve has written a beautiful and unforgettable exploration of intimacy, loss, and lifelong desire.
The Last Time They Met
She had come from the plane and was even now forgetting the ride from the airport. As she stepped from the car, she emerged to an audience of a doorman in uniform and another man in a dark coat moving through the revolving door of the hotel. The man in the dark coat hesitated, taking a moment to open an umbrella that immediately, in one fluid motion, blew itself inside out. He looked abashed and then purposefully amusedfor now she was his audienceas he tossed the useless appendage into a bin and moved on.
She wished the doorman wouldn't take her suitcase, and if it hadn't been for the ornate gold leaf of the canopy and the perfectly polished brass of the entryway, she might have told him it wasn't necessary. She hadn't expected the tall columns that rose to a ceiling she couldn't see clearly without squinting, or the rose carpet through those columns that was long enough for a coronation. The doorman wordlessly gave her suitcase...
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