A friend recently loaned me this novel (written by Anita Shreve in 2001) saying, “I thought you’d like to read this – it’s different.”
The Last Time They Met is the story of Linda Fallon an Thomas Janes, writers who meet at a literary retreat after not having seen each other for 26 years. It’s obvious from the tension (well done by Ms. Shreve) that they have a history together.
Usually a flashback is used in a book to bring the reader up to date on the backstory before moving the events forward again. In this ambitious (and accomplished) effort, Anita Shreve moves the story, via flashbacks, from the end to the beginning of a love affair.
When their time together at the retreat is over, the tale of Linda and Thomas moves backward to when they were 26 years old, meeting again for the first time since they were teens. The last leap is back nine years, to when they were seventeen and fell in love. Each glimpse into their lives gives us a deeper understanding of the characters and why they felt eternally connected.
While I found the ending disappointing and hard to believe, Anita Shreve’s technique of crafting a story and constructing a novel is brilliant. This book is a worthwhile read.