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
    Oct 2014, 352 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Judy Krueger

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Leonardo went off to urinate in the shelter of a clump of acacias then got back into the car, put on his jacket because the air was getting cool, and took the dog in his arms.

He looked down at the plain from the height of the first foothills. With the dying of day the sky had cleared and now the sun was sinking behind the mountains, the vault of heaven a deep unshaded cobalt.

It won't eat and tomorrow it'll be dead, Leonardo thought, holding the dog close.

Far off the lights of A. and one or two other villages were shining softly, with the lights of some factory prominent among them. For several months now the minor roads had no longer been lit, the soccer league championship had been suspended, and the television closed down after the evening news at ten, not starting again until the news at ten the following morning.

He smiled at the swarm of lights and the beauty of several fires burning on a hillside to the east. The dog's breathing had relaxed and the heat of its body through his shirt was warming his chest; it had the smell of things that are new to the world and still have no name. Like the smell of a birthing room or a cellar where cheeses ripen. Or a paper mill. A smell of transition.

"I won't give you a name," he said, stroking the puppy's head with his finger.

When he arrived in the square, the church clock was striking eight. He opened the door of the hardware shop. Elio looked up from a newspaper he must have salvaged from some packaging. The last newspaper had reached the village four months before. Leonardo went to the counter and put down the two cans he had brought in. He wiped his brow with his handkerchief.

"Only one more in the car," he said.

Elio neither nodded nor shook his head. He and Leonardo were distant cousins, but their friendship had nothing to do with blood or books or with other passions that can link men, like hunting, the mountains, and sport. It was seven years now since Leonardo had come back to the village but he was still a city man, while Elio belonged as much to the hills as any man could. He spoke the dialect, he knew what was going on, he had tried the women, and played in the Sunday soccer matches against other villages. In the days when there were still summer tourists, he had spent long periods sitting with the other local twenty-year-old boys on the low wall that bordered the square, studying the German and Dutch girls at a distance before taking them in the evening to the vineyards, to the river, and up into the highest hills from where he had convinced them they would be able to look at the sea. When he was called up for the National Guard, he had done the usual thing and given a big party, then he disappeared for three days without anyone knowing where he was. He had served two years at the frontier until, in the winter of '25, he had been hit by the bullet that now saved him from being called up again. As soon as he was discharged he took over the hardware business from his father and married the woman who had been his fiancée since he was nineteen: a woman with strong thighs and few frills; a type more likely to bore him than break his heart.

"What shall I say about the missing oil?" Elio said.

Leonardo raised his shoulders.

"Tell them it was stolen from me. That's what actually happened.

Tomorrow I'll bring the money for you to give back."

Elio fixed him with his calm eyes. He was not yet forty, of a reflective temperament, and Leonardo's only friend.

"What's happening out there in the world?"

Leonardo put his handkerchief back into his pocket. The mud had dried on his trousers in a dragon-shaped pattern.

"Yesterday some soldiers stopped me before L.; they told me to go back the way I'd come and sleep in the car because the road was closed until the next day to let a convoy of armored vehicles through."

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 your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & 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.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.