Last Day

Last Day

The fates of a cast of seemingly unconnected people converge during the celebration of an ancient holiday in a thought-provoking debut that brings to mind such novels as Station Eleven and The Age of Miracles.In Domenica Ruta's profoundly original novel, the end of the world comes once a year. Every May 28, humanity gathers to anticipate the planet's demise--and to celebra...

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Title:Last Day
Author:Domenica Ruta
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Last Day Reviews

  • Amelia

    A fresh and incisive slice of our world on the edge of its inevitable end, LAST DAY is an absorptive and compelling work from a brilliant voice in American fiction.

  • Ann (Inky)

    Congratulations! It is well into June, and it appears that we have survived another year--dodged another bullet, or, another apocalypse--as we wave goodbye to May 28th, fading in our rearview window along with the first half of 2019.

    Remember back in 2012, when lots of people were convinced that one day in December was the date the Mayan calendar stopped, deeming it to be the end of the world? Remember when

    happened? Before that, it was the Y2K scare. (And those examples are only from my

    Congratulations! It is well into June, and it appears that we have survived another year--dodged another bullet, or, another apocalypse--as we wave goodbye to May 28th, fading in our rearview window along with the first half of 2019.

    Remember back in 2012, when lots of people were convinced that one day in December was the date the Mayan calendar stopped, deeming it to be the end of the world? Remember when

    happened? Before that, it was the Y2K scare. (And those examples are only from my own lifetime--

    ).

    The hilarious kicker is,

    So each year, people from nearly every niche on our planet anticipate, celebrate, or go all out bonkers for the holiday. On May 29th, humanity goes back to normal, as if nothing had happened, because, well, nothing

    happen.

    The world Ruta has created is one exactly like ours in every way, minus one gaping hole of a difference:

    .

    On this particular Last Day, the story bounces between several characters (a few too many of them, in my opinion), each with a unique view on how to get through the roller coaster of emotions that is Last Day. I would have liked some more diversity in the characters, but the ones Ruta did create were written well in their own voices.

    There’s Kurt, an alcohol-guzzling, washed up tattoo artist who can’t stop treating women badly. He has a tattoo shop called “Redemption” that shucks out free tattoos every Last Day (as long as you let the tattoo artist pick the tattoo).

    Then there’s Sarah Moss (who hates her name): a highly intelligent, asexual high schooler who, despite promising herself not to act out teenage cliches, does just that. Sarah used to lock herself up in her room with anxiety medication every Last Day, but Sarah vows to make this one different.

    Also there is Karen, a young woman already beaten down by life after spending her childhood in several foster care homes, and who has a strange habit of swallowing inedible items when she is upset, among other “quirks”(/mental illness symptoms). Karen at least has Rosette, an ex-Jehovah’s Witness who drags Karen along with her to a new “pop-up church” led by a pastor with a new perspective on Last Day.

    These three main characters are all looking for redemption, whatever that means to them individually. They make massive promises to themselves and they swear they will change their ways, using Last Day as their catalyst. Just like those hopefuls who make New Year's resolutions,

    Watching this, and all the world, from above are three men in the International Space Station: an American and a Russian astronaut, along with a rich Japanese tourist.

    Besides following these main characters, we briefly see other groups of people and other individuals leading up to May 28th. Despite their ignorance, all of Ruta's characters are connected to each other in some way. This is one of my favorite concepts in a book, but rather than being a delightful Easter egg hunt, some of the relations were muddled and hard to catch. I actually really wish we had

    time with the Last Day-ers on the fringe that we only catch a tiny glimpse of--they reminded me a bit of some of the post-apocalypse groupings from

    ’s

    .

    You’ve got the “Doomsdayers”, naturally, who hoard and prepare for a certain type of doomsday. Not much is said about them, but I likened them to those people who dig out bomb shelters and stock it with rations, determined that the End will be met with zombies or super military AI weapons gone horribly wrong.

    Of course there’s the religious zealots, of every religion, each melding their own way to make it through Last Day, which they imagine as biblical--more of a gaudy, drawn out theater program than a bang or a whimper.

    There are those who just want to party, get high, and see Earth go out with as big of a Bang as She was made in--

    --and there are those who are desperately clinging to Her, praying and begging, pleading to whichever Higher Power that is listening that they aren’t ready for their beloved Earth to die.

    is a book that is difficult to place into a genre, though it feels like literary fiction more than anything else. It’s also a book that I think going in blind is best for the reader; the less you know, the better. However, I think a lot of readers will pick this up thinking it is a plot-driven dystopian fiction, as I thought before I dove in. It’s a study of many characters, all over the world, and their unique perspectives and experiences before and during Last Day. I wanted to give this book a three-star rating, but

    The ending played over in my head for days, and it's taken me over a month to write this review.

    Many thanks to

    for talking about this unique book with me! It really helped me process the book’s message(s) and meaning as a whole, as well as look at the characters from someone else’s perspective in addition to my own. And thank you so much to Spiegel & Grau and to Goodreads giveaways!

    __________________________________________

    Initial thoughts: I am

    glad that I was able to take a short break from this & then come back & devour it.

    This one requires a lot of patience but the reward is heartbreaking-ly & terribly good.

  • Bandit

    Are you thinking…oh great, another female author another female centered end of the world? Well, don’t, this isn’t like that at all. Yes, it is a story of the last day on Earth, but it’s set in a world very much like our own with the major distinction being that Last Day is thing celebrated every May every year. It’s a day of atonement, amendments, forgiveness and so on. It’s actually fraught with meaning the way few celebratory occasions are anymore. But then again it also in a way trivializes

    Are you thinking…oh great, another female author another female centered end of the world? Well, don’t, this isn’t like that at all. Yes, it is a story of the last day on Earth, but it’s set in a world very much like our own with the major distinction being that Last Day is thing celebrated every May every year. It’s a day of atonement, amendments, forgiveness and so on. It’s actually fraught with meaning the way few celebratory occasions are anymore. But then again it also in a way trivializes the apocalypse, by presuming it to be a real or metaphorical possibility on such regular basis. And so this on Last Day the readers get to follow different characters through interconnected narratives as they navigate their lives. It’s a lovely story and it’s very well written, but there is a sort of dreamy quality to it that makes it something of an aloof read. The author says in her afterword the novel was written in a postpartum fugue state and that’s sort of what it reads like, not postpartum per se (I’m not sure that enters the equation), but certainly fugue like. And also, and this is despite the fact that the plots are interwoven, it sort of reads like a collection of short stories. At any rate, it engages and reads well, but it does maintain a certain emotional distance. And then it ends, like a Last Day would. If this was a bookclub read, everyone would probably discuss what they would do on their last day on Earth. That’s just a gimme. I’m not in love, but it’s a lovely book. Thanks Netgalley.

  • Debi Hawkes

    The premise; an annual celebration, around the world of the impending apocalypse was intriguing. The various forms the celebrations take are shared through several main and secondary characters whose storylines occasionally remotely intertwine, was quite fascinating.

    The author is quite gifted, able to succinctly convey so many themes, and carry so many storylines.

    My only issue with the book is the multiple characters and storylines, my head felt over full remembering who was who, how they connec

    The premise; an annual celebration, around the world of the impending apocalypse was intriguing. The various forms the celebrations take are shared through several main and secondary characters whose storylines occasionally remotely intertwine, was quite fascinating.

    The author is quite gifted, able to succinctly convey so many themes, and carry so many storylines.

    My only issue with the book is the multiple characters and storylines, my head felt over full remembering who was who, how they connected, etc. But this is a nice issue to have, had to think way beyond the last page!

    I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

  • Kasa Cotugno

    How clever to have publication of this book take place on what in this dystopian world is known as "last day." May 28. So will this be the final day on earth? The world depicted here, the people, are recognizable in today's reality, except that every year there is a worldwide "celebration" anticipating the end of the world on a certain date, and butterfly-effect like, Ruta lays out the interconnectivity of us all. Absorbing and readable.

  • Faith

    This is my second book in the last two days that had a blurb comparing it to “Station Eleven”. Blurb writers have no shame and neither book measured up to “Station Eleven” (and I didn’t agree that that book lived up to its hype). According to this book, the last day of life on Earth has been prophesied to occur on May 28th of an unspecified year. Various annual last day rituals have developed in different countries. Some people party, some apologize for past failings, some make new hookups. And

    This is my second book in the last two days that had a blurb comparing it to “Station Eleven”. Blurb writers have no shame and neither book measured up to “Station Eleven” (and I didn’t agree that that book lived up to its hype). According to this book, the last day of life on Earth has been prophesied to occur on May 28th of an unspecified year. Various annual last day rituals have developed in different countries. Some people party, some apologize for past failings, some make new hookups. And then the world doesn’t come to an end and everything goes back to normal until next year.

    The book consists of vignettes and biographical sketches about way too many characters. Some of these characters converge but most do not, and towards the end of book it felt like a flood of new characters suddenly appeared. I wasn’t really engaged by any of the characters, or this book. However, I did like the eloquent last chapter. 2.5 stars rounded up to 3 because of the ending.

    I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  • Stephanie

    (I received a free copy from Random House)

    So I didn't love this one. It's about a fictional holiday called "Last Day," where every year humans celebrate what might be their last day on Earth (May 28th was once predicted to be the end of the world). Each year, though, the sun still rises and life carries on. But will it this year? We follow Sarah, a young girl fixated on a much older tattoo artist; Karen, a troubled woman who begins to hear voices; and Bear, an astronaut on the International Spac

    (I received a free copy from Random House)

    So I didn't love this one. It's about a fictional holiday called "Last Day," where every year humans celebrate what might be their last day on Earth (May 28th was once predicted to be the end of the world). Each year, though, the sun still rises and life carries on. But will it this year? We follow Sarah, a young girl fixated on a much older tattoo artist; Karen, a troubled woman who begins to hear voices; and Bear, an astronaut on the International Space Station.

    What I liked: I *did* stay up too late reading this, which is always a good quality in a book. I was really into Sarah's narrative in the first half, especially because of Ruta's solid characterization. Also loved the imagination behind the origin of Last Day and the almost anthropological reports about how it's celebrated across the world.

    What I didn't like: The three main narratives never came together, and didn't seem to enhance each other. They also weren't balanced for me, meaning I kept racing through certain characters' sections to get back to the more interesting story. It felt emotionally distanced, too, and nobody was very likable (not a deal breaker for me though). The ending also really didn't work for me.

  • Tucker

    Book:

    Me: I HAVE FOUND MY SOULMATE

  • Jypsy

    I loved the unique concept of Last Day when I read the synopsis. Every year in May people celebrate the end of the world or not. Imagine being happy about the apocalypse! It's odd yet fascinating. During this day, Last Day, the story follows numerous characters. Somehow, all of these characters intersect with one another in their lives. There are too many characters to keep track of here, but I think it's supposed to be that way. It's a busy day, a lot of people, noise, activity, drama, happines

    I loved the unique concept of Last Day when I read the synopsis. Every year in May people celebrate the end of the world or not. Imagine being happy about the apocalypse! It's odd yet fascinating. During this day, Last Day, the story follows numerous characters. Somehow, all of these characters intersect with one another in their lives. There are too many characters to keep track of here, but I think it's supposed to be that way. It's a busy day, a lot of people, noise, activity, drama, happiness, grief and on it goes. It's a blur with no single person understanding how they might have affected someone else's life. The story reads like a blur with too much happening. I liked it because it's fascinating how one person affects another, and we never know about it. Weaving all of these seemingly random strangers together is a great premise. I recommend for anyone who can read without getting overwhelmed. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.

  • Jonah ❤️LIBROCUBICULARIST❤️

    DNF @ 25% - Could not connect with the characters and the story is a bit of a drag by that point...

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