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


"I'll be home by this evening," he told himself.

Raising his eyes for a moment as he turned back to his book, he met those of the old lady, who had silently approached him.

"Please sit down," he said, removing his duffel from the free chair. The woman skirted the short side of the table and sat down. The skin between the few deep creases on her face seemed strangely young and taut. She had carefully outlined her lips with deep scarlet.

"I'm sure no one has recognized you," the lady said.

Leonardo shut his book. The woman nodded severely.

"I couldn't fail to. You've been one of the great delusions of my life."

"I'm sorry."

"I was so naive. I spent years in the arts and should have realized better than anyone the huge gulf between the artist and the shabbiness of the man."

Leonardo took a mouthful of coffee.

"What was your own field in the arts?"

The woman checked the architecture of her hair with her left hand.

"Opera. I was a contralto."

Leonardo complimented her. The man at the other table was watching them; his heavy hands restless, the rest of his body motionless. Leonardo imagined he must be having ignoble thoughts.

"May I ask you a question?" the woman said.

"Please do."

"After what happened, did you continue writing?"

"No, I stopped."

The woman screwed up her eyes, as if reliving one of many memories.

"I could not sing for nearly two years when my daughter was born because of her health problems. I nearly went mad. And I don't say this out of empathy with you. The situation I found myself in was very different from yours. I had done nothing wrong." Leonardo finished his coffee.

"Then you started again?"

"Of course," the woman exclaimed. "One engagement after another. Not many contraltos can boast of singing until the age of fifty-two, but I had a voice other women could only dream of. I was on stage two days after I lost my son. Have you any idea what it means to lose a son and two days later find yourself singing Rigoletto in front of a thousand people?"

The fat man got up from his table and passed them on his way out. "Good-bye," the woman said.

"Good-bye," he answered.

Leonardo followed the man with his eyes as far as the door. Rembrandt without the beard, he thought.

"An arms dealer," the woman said. "Stays here two nights a month."

Leonardo would have liked more coffee.

"Do you come here often?" he asked.

"I've been living here for a year. If that's not often, I don't know what is."

The sound of the commercial traveler's car attracted their eyes to the window. He maneuvered his luxury off-road vehicle and went out through the gate, which was being held open by the man from reception. The two acknowledged each other, and then the bald man closed the gate and padlocked it, slung his rifle over his shoulder, and slowly walked back.

"His car's bulletproof," the woman said. "That's why he's able to come and go as he pleases."

Leonardo nodded and removed some perhaps nonexistent speck from his shoulder.

"Where did you live before you came here?" he asked.

"In P.," the woman said. "But when this business with the outsiders started, my daughter persuaded me to move in with her.

After a few months my son-in-law was called up for the National Guard and my daughter decided it would be safer to move to Switzerland. So I told her to go and find a house, then come back for me. She knew this place and brought me here so I'd be all right in the meantime."

The old woman said no more, as if that was the end of the matter. Leonardo smiled weakly.

"Will you be staying here much longer?"

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!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Marriage of Opposites
    by Alice Hoffman
    Alice Hoffman's latest work, The Marriage of Opposites, is a historical fiction novel focusing on ...
  • Book Jacket: Miss Jane
    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson
    National Book Award Finalist Brad Watson returns with an intimate novel about one woman's journey to...
  • Book Jacket: Dinner with Edward
    Dinner with Edward
    by Isabel Vincent
    In late 2009 Isabel Vincent and her family were still newcomers to New York City. She and her ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson

    "Starred Review. Sensitive, beautifully precise prose. Highly recommended." - PW

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Since She Went Away
    by David Bell

    A chilling novel of guilt, regret, and a past which refuses to die...

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Girl Waits with Gun
by Amy Stewart

An enthralling novel based on the forgotten true adventures of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

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.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!