Wednesday, July 08, 2009

"The Last Time They Met" by Anita Shreve

This novel is about two people who meet at three different times of their lives. In the first chapter they meet when they're in their forties and fifties. The second time they meet, they're both living in Africa and by now, the reader is halfway the book. Lastly, yet, the first time they meet, they're attending high school.
I listened to Anita speak of her novels at the Miami Book Fair and she said she had written the novel backwards. She assured the skeptical readers she hadn't rearranged the chapters, which I think as a reader you can tell is true 'cause the novel just flows, unlike other novels that at certain points seem to get stuck and lost without directions. Finally, the novel ends with what happens to the protagonists after they make love for the first time, which causes their lives to unfold the way they did.

I don't believe this to be a great novel. I just love the format in which it was written, and more importantly, the way it made me feel. After reading it, I reflected a lot on the importance a minute can have in a lifetime. The impact a change of plans, a right turn, instead of a left, or U turn can have for an undetermined time span. I even came to this conclusion: "decisions should be thought carefully and throughout, 'cause we can't never predict for how long we'll endure their consequences". There are times when all we can do is just sit and see how our decisions unpredictably unravel, same like the water tends to create waves when peebles are thrown at it and outside forces, like the wind, are affecting its moves.


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