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The Last Weekend download epub

by Blake Morrison


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Blake Morrison has crafted an age-old tale of obsession, jealousy and .

Blake Morrison has crafted an age-old tale of obsession, jealousy and revenge with a sharply contemporary flavour, writes Stephanie Merritt. From the panoramic sweep of that state-of-the-nation novel, he has zoomed inwards, focusing tightly in his new book, The Last Weekend, on two fortysomething couples over one stifling August bank holiday as the New Labour epoch hobbles towards its close. The Last Weekend is an age-old tale of obsession, jealousy and revenge given a sharply contemporary flavour by the concerns that drive events to their climax.

The Last Weekend book. Set over a long weekend, Blake Morrison's new novel is a taut, atmospheric, brilliantly chilling story of a rivalrous friendship - as told by Ian, the deceptively casual narrator. It opens with a surprise phone call from an old university friend, inviting Ian and his wife, Em, for a few days by the sea. Their hosts, Ollie and Daisy, are a glamorous couple.

The Last Weekend by Blake Morrison. He is married to Em, who wants children but medical opinion says that Ian’s sperm dawdles when it should swim. This unhappily childless and ordinary couple are invited to spend a long summer weekend with Ian’s best friends from university, Ollie and Daisy Moore, who seem to have it all. The holiday offers no respite and serves to bring out the rifts in both marriages. Morrison has taken the odd decision to model the weekend away on the events of Shakespeare’s Othello.

Philip Blake Morrison (born 8 October 1950) is an English poet and author who has published in a wide range of fiction and non-fiction genres. His greatest success came with the publication of his memoirs And When Did You Last See Your Father? which. His greatest success came with the publication of his memoirs And When Did You Last See Your Father? which won the J. R. Ackerley Prize for Autobiography. He has also written a study of the murder of James Bulger, As If. Since 2003, Morrison has been Professor of Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

BY BLAKE MORRISON (Cape £1. 9). It's a hugely promising set-up and Blake Morrison is a highly accomplished writer, so the biggest surprise in this book is that it's so clunking and heavy-handed. By Harry Ritchie for MailOnline Updated: 12:07 EST, 3 June 2010.

The novel opens with a surprise phone call from an old university friend, inviting Ian and his wife, Em, for a few days by the sea. Their hosts, Ollie and Daisy, are a golden couple whose glamour and happiness drive Ian to distraction, and dangerous tensions quickly emerge. In vivid, careful prose, where flashes of wit collide with moments of troubling uncertainty, Blake Morrison perfectly conveys the stifling atmosphere of a remote cottage in the hottest days of summer.

It is the assuredness of Morrison's portrayal of Ian's descent which makes The Last Weekend compelling – and lifts a familiar, even melodramatic story skillfully above the commonplace. Matthew Dennison's 'Livia: Empress of Rome' is published by Quercus. Independent culture newsletter.

When Ian receives a surprise phone call from an old university friend, inviting Ian and his wife, Em, for a few days by the sea, the couple agree to go. Their hosts, Ollie and Daisy, are a golden couple whose glamour and happiness drive Ian to distraction, and dangerous tensions quickly emerge. Beneath congenial yet charged conversation, the history of their relationship is uncovered. Ian and Ollie resurrect an almost forgotten bet made20 years before. Each day becomes a series of challenges for higher and higher stakes, setting in motion actions that will have irreversible consequences.

Comments: (3)

Onath
The Last Weekend tells the story of Ian and Em, a seemingly everyday couple, with everyday values and everday lives. It tells the story of a stiflingly hot August bank holiday weekend away in the English countryside with old friends, Ollie and Daisy. Despite having not seen each other for a number of years, the two couples aim to revive old friendships, offer up new revelations, and spend a relaxing weekend together, taking a break from the woes of real life. And it turns out just like that. Sort of.

I’ll be honest, I couldn’t help but snore at a good chunk of the start of this book. It seemed that Ian and Em’s supposedly bland and boring life was seeping through the pages and infecting the story itself, and there were few – if any – pointers towards what was to come. So they’re going to spend the weekend with old school buddies? Whoopie-do. Got to be more to it though, I told myself, with a stern tone of voice. And there was, given a chance and a little time.

In fact, lots happens, and the reader is pulled into a twisting, chilling, turning, dark adventure that they aren’t really sure whether to believe. Ian, you see, is the epitome of unreliable narrators and although he sucks you nicely in at the beginning (as he did his wife, Ollie, Daisy, and the rest), you soon begin to doubt his account of the tale. In some places, it’s even plainly evident that what’s actually happening is quite the opposite to what the narrator claims is happening – quite a clever technique that, fair play Mr. Morrison.

Whilst reading, I couldn’t help but get the feeling of classics (cheesy or otherwise) such as Abigail’s Party, An Inspector Calls, or even If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor (although, for the latter, with a lot less poetic beauty and a little more depth of prose). They’re stories that are almost a nothingness – they’re about nothing but about everything at the same time, stories that are slow (and perhaps a tad confusing) to start but leave you breathless by the end, with twists and turns that would have seemed utterly impossible to begin with – and that’s just what The Last Weekend did for me.

Ask me what it’s about and I’m not really sure I could tell you, other than that they are on a weekend away. Having said that though, it’s a story about love and hate, jealousy and pride. Morrison captures emotions so truly that they glow through the pages and the one that shines out most is that hot and sweaty, cooped-up-with-the-same-people-for-three-days kind of irritation that is so hard to pinpoint and explain in real life, let alone through words on a page. I think it’s this talent that makes this book what it is – the story gets better as it goes along, the characters are okay but for the most part utterly unlikeable, the unreliable narrator technique is done well and is interesting, but it’s the way that Morrison brings these characters alive through emotion, and the way that he puts the reader right into the middle of that sweaty, sticky, stifling house that really makes this book what it is.

If you’re looking for a gritty, gripping story, one that’s obvious and easily pulls you along, this isn’t for you. And if you’re looking to fall in love with the characters and hunt down your next ficional friend, it’s not for you either. But if you enjoy well written prose, an extremely well written unreliable narrator, and that rather clever snapshot of real life and real emotion, this book will do you well – just be sure to push past the first 50-odd pages first – they’re important, but a little stiff.
Adorardana
Ian, the narrator, is a 44 year old school teacher in a childless and failing marriage to Em, a social worker for disadvantaged children. The novel charts a Bank holiday weekend with his old university friend, Ollie and his longtime partner Daisy. Blake Morrison creates a cringing character in Ian who has no favourable traits. From his gambling habits to his obsessive jealousies the book reads easily but with so many nauseating incidents as to make it barely palatable. Ian hiding in bushes spying and his attachment to his recently purchased mug are two such incidents that spring to mind. Into the mix, Morrison brings a successful designer, the appropriately named Milo, yet another target for Ian's jealousies and insecurities. The central thread of the novel is the friendship between Ian and Ollie which only emphasises Ian's paranoias, class hang ups and feelings of inferiority. There are frequent references to Ian's sperm and the final paragraph on this subject summarise Ian's personality brilliantly well, "mine(sperm)amble around in circles. They are clueless, workshy, undirected....they thrash around, in wildly gyrating patterns, unaware of their purpose". As in real life Ian is a character to steer well clear of.
Hunaya
I thought this novel was excellently written. The creepy atmosphere, setting, characters, themes and dialogue work together very well. Unfortunately I already knew the plot, having seen the TV version, but I still loved the 'unreliable narrator' quality. Ian, the narrator, is extremely plausible and it takes a while to realise he's a wrong 'un. I hadn't worked out all the Othello references until well into reading - extra points to Blake Morrison for those; they add an extra layer. I don't often find books 'unputdownable' but I did this one.
The Last Weekend download epub
Contemporary
Author: Blake Morrison
ISBN: 0753186802
Category: Literature & Fiction
Subcategory: Contemporary
Language: English
Publisher: Isis Large Print; Large type / large print edition edition (November 1, 2010)
Pages: 320 pages