Saturday, May 30, 2009

Review: Every Last Cuckoo by Kate Maloy

Sarah and Charles Lucas have created a long and generally happy life for themselves in the large Vermont house where they raised their children. And they have settled in for a contented retirement when Charles unexpectedly dies. Sarah finds herself drifting through her days until her granddaughter and friends move into the house. Then comes a woman and child who have lost everything in a fire. The cousin of an old friend moves into the guest house, needing quiet and solitude. The daughter and gradnson of an acquaintance escape an abusive situation by moving into Sarah's. And Sarah starts to come back to life with this newly created family inhabiting her home and her grounds.

Told in two seperate sections, starting with the Lucas' life before Charles' death, part one ends in the past, picking up part two with the memorial service and the emptiness now pervading Sarah's life. Maloy has written both the portrait of a good, solid marriage and of one partner's painful coming back to life after the death of her husband. The characters are flawed and real and utterly sympathetic. Their interactions, especially Sarah's with her children, echo the interactions of people the world round. While the Lucas house might be a place of healing for so many of the lost souls who congregate with Sarah, it is clear that this is just one stop on their path and that Sarah and her determination to find meaning in the life left to her is the main focus of the story. She is a strong and graceful character for whom the reader can't help but root, even as we see her frustrations and watch her admit her past mistakes. The narrative covers much loss but has a tender and lovely feel to it that draws readers in and keeps them engaged with the story each and every page. I very much enjoyed this book about lasting love, family, loss, and going on in spite of and because of what happens in life.


  1. What a great review. I'm going to add this to my TBR list. I love books that show the characters are real people, flawed but still worth knowing.

  2. This sounds like a wonderful book - reminds me of Elizabeth Berg's novels, which I enjoy tremendously.


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