MLA Gold Award Site

Excerpt from The Last Man Standing by Davide Longo, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Last Man Standing

by Davide Longo

The Last Man Standing
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Oct 2013, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2014, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Judy Krueger

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Have the dogs been bothering you?" the man behind the counter asked without looking up from the papers spread in front of him. He was no longer wearing the green sweater he had had on the previous evening when he had demanded payment in advance and shown Leonardo how to use the hot-water token for the shared bathroom.

"There are packs of dogs all around the enclosure at night. We've tried poisoning them, but it doesn't help."

Leonardo watched him sign a paper in a sloping hand. His shiny head looked as if he were in the habit of greasing it with fat and polishing it with a wool cloth every morning. A lot of postcards showing places that were now inaccessible had been clipped with clothes pegs to the metal frame of a bed propped against the wall behind him. On the counter you could still see where objects, now vanished, must once have stood. One space looked as if it might have held a computer at one time. A telephone had survived, even if no longer attached to any cable.

"I think something's missing from my car," Leonardo said. The man turned to detach a couple of fuel tokens from the metal net and copied their code numbers into a register. When he had done this he took a pack of cigarettes from his shirt pocket and lit one. He took a puff and looked at Leonardo through the smoke.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes."

"Certain?"

"Absolutely."

The man dropped ash into a saucer with a picture of a saint on it. He had a leather armband around his wrist, and his right ear looked as if it had been chewed. Leonardo imagined these two facts must be connected in some obscure way that would have required time to figure out.

"The guard was in the watchtower all night," the man said. "No one could have gotten into the enclosure."

"Yes, I'm sure that's true."

The man studied Leonardo's thin face and long, mostly gray, hair. He was probably reflecting that the man before him did not work with his hands and was physically inactive.

"Then you must suspect the other guests," he said. Leonardo shook his head.

"No, not at all."

The man took in Leonardo's frank gaze and then puffed out his cheeks as if this would help him to think. His eyes were the color of glass bottles that had spent years in a dark cellar.

"Denis!" he shouted loudly, then picked up his cigarette from the edge of the saucer and bent his bald head over his papers again. A moment or two later a door opened behind him and the lad Leonardo had seen in the courtyard emerged.

"My brother," the man behind the counter said without looking at either of them. "He looks after security."

Seen close up, the lad looked younger than thirty. He had thick wool socks and the side pockets of his pants were full of short cylindrical objects.

"This gentleman says something's missing from his car," the bald man said.

The boy considered the tall body and narrow shoulders of Leonardo in his linen jacket, as if bewildered by a utensil that must have once been useful but had now become obsolete.

"I was on guard all night," he said, "and we haven't opened the gate yet this morning."

There was no shadow of defiance on his face. Only the boredom of someone compelled to go once again through an overfamiliar rigmarole.

"I don't doubt that," Leonardo said, "but I also know that someone's forced open the trunk of my car."

"What have you lost?" asked the boy.

"A can of oil."

"Motor oil?"

"No, olive oil."

"Was it the only one you had?"

"No, I had four."

The boy was silent, as if all possibilities had been covered. His brother stopped writing.

"If you like, we can call the police."

Leonardo thought about it.

"How long would they take to get here?"

Excerpted from The Last Man Standing by Davide Longo. Copyright © 2013 by Davide Longo. Excerpted by permission of Quercus. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Victoria
by Daisy Goodwin

"A hit…The research is impeccable, the attention to detail, perfect." - The Sunday Mirror (UK)

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Rise
    by Cara Brookins

    How a house built a family. An inspiring real-life story.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Second Mrs. Hockaday
    by Susan Rivers

    A love story, a story of racial divide, and a story of the South as it fell in the war.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win No Man's Land

No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien

Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.

Enter

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Ruler of the Night
    Ruler of the Night
    by David Morrell
    Amateur sleuth Thomas De Quincey is back in a mystery set in Victorian England. This time, he and ...
  • Book Jacket: A List of Cages
    A List of Cages
    by Robin Roe
    Robin Roe has written one helluva young adult debut novel. Alternating first person narratives by a ...
  • Book Jacket: Homesick for Another World
    Homesick for Another World
    by Ottessa Moshfegh
    The frizzy, freaky, funky, and frazzled all pile on in this much anticipated short story collection ...

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H W S W T Devil S H A L S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.