When they got to the hospital and she gave her name at the emergency department desk and she gave her name at the emergency department desk the staff reacted so quickly that Nick knew Rory wasn’t suffering from a stomach ulcer.
‘Mrs Buchanan?’ asked a doctor, materialising almost immediately by her side. Nick couldn’t help but notice the red streaks splashed across the front of his coat. ‘We have your husband in a separate area…If you’ll follow me.’
Rory Buchanan is popular with everyone. He’s good looking, he captains his cricket side, and is surrounded by friends. So when he collapses and dies suddenly, his friends and family struggle to cope with their loss. Rory was the glue that seemed to hold them all together, and now that he’s gone friendships are under stress, marriages are being tested and individuals are facing where they are at – and where they want to be.
Last Summer is a clever examination of loss, and what it can mean to people. Told from the varied viewpoints of nine different people – all friends and family of the dead man – it explores not just the immediate aftermath of a death, but also how it can alter lives and relationships. The characters are a blend of male ad female and come from a range of backgrounds. What they have in common is their membership of the cricket club, and their friendship/connection with Rory. Without Rory there, those connections become more tenuous, and even strained.
Handling nine different viewpoint characters – plus several other characters – could prove too much for a writer, but Ladd does it well. Over the course of the novel the reader gets to know each character intimately, with cause for crying with the, cheering for them, and even being angry at them, as if they were real people – which they are, because Ladd makes them so.
The only downfall of the book is that ends, leaving you wanting to know what happens next to the characters.
Last Summer, by Kylie Ladd
Allen & Unwin, 2011
This book can be purchased in good bookstores, or online from Fishpond.