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Last Day

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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 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 celebrate as if the day is truly its last. On this holiday, three intersecting sets of characters embark on a possibly last-chance quest for redemption. In Boston, bookish wunderkind Sarah is looking for love and maybe a cosmic reversal from the much older Kurt, a tattoo artist she met at last year's Last Day BBQ--but he's still trying to make amends to the family he destroyed long ago. Dysfunctional Karen keeps getting into trouble, especially when the voices she's been hearing coax her to abandon everything to search for her long-lost adoptive brother; her friend Rosette has left the Jehovah's Witnesses to follow a new pastor at the Last Kingdom on Earth, where she brings Karen on this fateful day. Meanwhile, above them all, three astronauts on the International Space Station, Bear, an American; Russian Svec; and billionaire Japanese space tourist Yui, contemplate their lives as well as their precious Earth from afar. With sparkling wit, verbal ingenuity, and wild imagination, Ruta has created an alternate world in which an ancient holiday brings into stark reflection our deepest dreams, desires, hopes, and fears. In this tour-de-force debut novel she has written a dazzling, haunting love letter to humanity and to our planet. Advance praise for Last Day "In this woven novel, we humans are love, are destruction, are wish and want. Domenica Ruta has created a portrait of humanity in a moment that is both the end and the beginning, and this novel is urgent and true and filled with such beauty."--Ramona Ausubel, author of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty and No One Is Here Except All of Us "Domenica Ruta's empathy is broad and deep, her prose fine-grained, her humor sharp but tender. Last Day is a life-affirming antidote to these pre-apocalyptic times."--Teddy Wayne, author of Loner


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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 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 celebrate as if the day is truly its last. On this holiday, three intersecting sets of characters embark on a possibly last-chance quest for redemption. In Boston, bookish wunderkind Sarah is looking for love and maybe a cosmic reversal from the much older Kurt, a tattoo artist she met at last year's Last Day BBQ--but he's still trying to make amends to the family he destroyed long ago. Dysfunctional Karen keeps getting into trouble, especially when the voices she's been hearing coax her to abandon everything to search for her long-lost adoptive brother; her friend Rosette has left the Jehovah's Witnesses to follow a new pastor at the Last Kingdom on Earth, where she brings Karen on this fateful day. Meanwhile, above them all, three astronauts on the International Space Station, Bear, an American; Russian Svec; and billionaire Japanese space tourist Yui, contemplate their lives as well as their precious Earth from afar. With sparkling wit, verbal ingenuity, and wild imagination, Ruta has created an alternate world in which an ancient holiday brings into stark reflection our deepest dreams, desires, hopes, and fears. In this tour-de-force debut novel she has written a dazzling, haunting love letter to humanity and to our planet. Advance praise for Last Day "In this woven novel, we humans are love, are destruction, are wish and want. Domenica Ruta has created a portrait of humanity in a moment that is both the end and the beginning, and this novel is urgent and true and filled with such beauty."--Ramona Ausubel, author of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty and No One Is Here Except All of Us "Domenica Ruta's empathy is broad and deep, her prose fine-grained, her humor sharp but tender. Last Day is a life-affirming antidote to these pre-apocalyptic times."--Teddy Wayne, author of Loner

30 review for Last Day

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tucker

    Book:Sarah is a bookish teenager Me: I HAVE FOUND MY SOULMATE

  2. 4 out of 5

    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.

  3. 5 out of 5

    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.

  4. 5 out of 5

    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.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bibliomedico

    Before I start with my New book Review , I would like to thank @PRHGlobal @prhinternational for Providing me with a free E-galley copy of this book for my Honest Review . Thanks a lot for giving me the opportunity to read this novel. ******************** Book : Last Day . Author : Domenica Ruta. Genre : Fiction , Science Fiction . Rate : 3.5/5 Review in one word : Interesting . ********************* As always Before I start with my New book Review , I would like to thank @PRHGlobal @prhinternational for Providing me with a free E-galley copy of this book for my Honest Review . Thanks a lot for giving me the opportunity to read this novel. ******************** Book : Last Day . Author : Domenica Ruta. Genre : Fiction , Science Fiction . Rate : 3.5/5 Review in one word : Interesting . ********************* As always when I receive ARCs to review , I didn't read the blurb or know anything about the book , even the genre . I started it and I was ok , what's next  ?  Then I got immersed in the story and actually found it quite interesting , yeah , I didn't finish it in one sitting , but I was invested in the story , the characters and their journeys. The best thing about this story is the author writing style , Domenica Ruta is a gifted author , she has the ability to make you connect with the story with her charming Words and Entertaining plot , even though I didn't like the story that much , the writing style was amazing . I think the genre wasn't for me . But again  the world building and  characterization were really good . I think this is all for me , I  really don't have much to say :)  Full Review : www.bibliomedico.wordpress.com

  6. 4 out of 5

    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.

  7. 5 out of 5

    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.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jonah ❤️LIBROCUBICULARIST❤️

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

  9. 5 out of 5

    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 nothing happened? Before that, it was the Y2K scare. (And those examples are onlywhen 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 nothing happened? Before that, it was the Y2K scare. (And those examples are only from my own lifetime--we as a species are pretty obsessed with the apocalypse). Last Day is kind of like that, except almost everyone, all around the world, really believes that the apocalypse will happen on the 28th of May. The hilarious kicker is, nobody knows which May 28th. 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 did happen. Rinse and repeat. And repeat. And repeat... Their love for the end was everlasting [...] They went back to normal, to their normal, in which fear and righteousness attended the mundane business of living. Standing over a sink of dirty dishes, a battered mother of three could look with tenderness toward the coming end. The world Ruta has created is one exactly like ours in every way, minus one gaping hole of a difference: a cursed day at the end of the fifth month of the year known ubiquitously around the globe as Last Day. Celebrating an imaginary apocalypse while schools filled with children were bombed by dictators and pipelines leaked millions of tons of crude oil into the sea. It was so obvious it was stupid, and Sarah hated herself for being sucked into [it]. 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, these characters can't come to terms with the fact that May 28th, just like January 1st, is just another day on our little blue planet. 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 more 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 Margaret Atwood’s The MaddAddam Trilogy: Oryx and Crake / The Year of the Flood / MaddAddam. 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--no tomorrow means no consequences for anyone!--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. Despite what felt like a never-ending fountain of oil spills, carbon emissions, and toxic waste, the planet had yet to smolder into one big ashtray. Life marches on. It always did. It probably always would, at least in her lifetime and for many thousands of lifetimes after hers. No big deal. It was a dramatic holiday of self-inflicted upheaval drawn out into a public performance. Collective catharsis and all that. Right? Last Day 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 I decided that it deserved the fourth star after I realized how much the story impacted me emotionally. The ending played over in my head for days, and it's taken me over a month to write this review. The signs were everywhere. [...] There were too many people in the world, and not enough resources to sustain them, not even enough names to go around. [...] How many movies were exactly like other movies? How many times could people tell the same story? The world was running out of ideas. If there was any death knell for humanity, it was not peak oil or global warming or beehive collapse but the superfluity of Sarahs. Many thanks to my new friend Lenoire 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! I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. __________________________________________ Initial thoughts: I am so 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.

  10. 4 out of 5

    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 Intern (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.

  11. 4 out of 5

    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 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.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    Domenica Ruta is an author to watch. Her debut With or Without You, a memoir, was so gripping I read it in a day. Last Day, her first novel, was one I had to warm up to but she left me impressed by the end. We may be reaching saturation on the post-apocalyptic novel just as we may be reaching saturation on the climate change debate. Who among us can go through each and every day knowing that the long prophesied end of the world as we know it is quite probably coming in the next 50 to 100 years?

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brenda A

    This book was so incredibly entertaining because the cast of characters were all wildly different from each other and so fun to read about. Rosette was a hussy who decided to join the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which those two contrasting things aline make her fascinating. Sarah is a typical teenager who thinks herself way more intelligent and mature than she actually is. Kurt is a deadbeat tattoo artist. American Bear and Russian Svec are floating in space in the space station dealing with a This book was so incredibly entertaining because the cast of characters were all wildly different from each other and so fun to read about. Rosette was a hussy who decided to join the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which those two contrasting things aline make her fascinating. Sarah is a typical teenager who thinks herself way more intelligent and mature than she actually is. Kurt is a deadbeat tattoo artist. American Bear and Russian Svec are floating in space in the space station dealing with a weird Japanese space tourist. Karen lives in a home for high functioning mental illness and swallows weird things when she’s feeling a little off. They’re all going through their “last day,” a day every year where people party it up as if the world is actually ending. Whether it IS actually the last day or not is kind of a moot point for me—I just enjoy watching them go through the rotations of a day. Each chapter (bust especially Karen’s) were entertaining and the reading went by quickly.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kelli

    This really just wasn't the book for me. I was loaned this book by a coworker who didn't have time to read it, and I probably should of just declined. Several times throughout the book, I found myself asking, what am I reading?? The concept of the book was interesting. Every year on May 28th is Last Day where it was predicted, obviously, that it would be the last day for Earth's inhabitants. Wild party ensues, people make amends for past trespasses and many MANY bonfires. It was like if a bunch This really just wasn't the book for me. I was loaned this book by a coworker who didn't have time to read it, and I probably should of just declined. Several times throughout the book, I found myself asking, what am I reading?? The concept of the book was interesting. Every year on May 28th is Last Day where it was predicted, obviously, that it would be the last day for Earth's inhabitants. Wild party ensues, people make amends for past trespasses and many MANY bonfires. It was like if a bunch of alcoholics had one last hurrah and then immediately started AA after. This might make my credibility go down, but I didn't get the point of this book. I was trying to find a deeper meaning in the plot and it's characters but felt like everything was so disjointed, and honestly bizarre, to assemble something. It was well written, and the characters we follow are probably the most unique people I think an author I've read has come up with. However, the POV switches way too much for me, and I thought it made the whole story in itself kind of messy. There are 4 main characters at first, but by the end we're introduced to maybe 4-5 more tertiary characters and I didn't understand what the point of mentioning them was. I see that a ton of other people liked it, and I'm glad for the author's sake. I just don't think this was my kind of story.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Each of the characters in this book were so different from each other and well described, I could completely picture them going about their Last Day activities. I wasn't sure where the story was heading but the ending was perfect.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. It’s a decent book. Nothing like Station Eleven though. The theme and content are slightly different so I’m not sure comparing the two is a great idea. Additionally I didn’t connect to many of the characters. I liked Karen. I think less characters to follow would have been better. However it’s a decent book so if you like this sort of book give it a shot!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Judi

    I received this ARC for free and this review is my unbiased opinion. If I had a 50-page rule this would be a DNF review. Somewhere between page 50 and 100, I started to get interested in the characters and became curious as to how the book would end. Would this be a "Last Day" like all of the rest where people celebrated (?) what ultimately wasn't the last day on Earth? Or, would it be The "Last Day"? I'm not sure what happened but I lost interest again but since I had invested so muc I received this ARC for free and this review is my unbiased opinion. If I had a 50-page rule this would be a DNF review. Somewhere between page 50 and 100, I started to get interested in the characters and became curious as to how the book would end. Would this be a "Last Day" like all of the rest where people celebrated (?) what ultimately wasn't the last day on Earth? Or, would it be The "Last Day"? I'm not sure what happened but I lost interest again but since I had invested so much into the book already I slogged through to the end. This is not "my" genre. I didn't find a character I could connect with or root for and many of the topics addressed in the text are none I've come close to experiencing. Ruta didn't provide a pathway for me to engage and so I was left on the outside of all plots. I was intrigued by how she subtlely connected each of the major storylines. All in all, I found the writing to be inconsistent - some lines and the occasional paragraph were so literary I had hope for the rest of the book. But then there was writing that fell terribly short of that standard. There's hope for a better book; Ruta has demonstrated she can write well and, hopefully, her next work of fiction will be better polished.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Shoshana Goldberg

    3.5 stars rounded down to 3, since the ending was so upsetting I had nightmares. Last Day tells the story of multiple characters, connected by varying degrees of separation, as they celebrate the international holiday "Last Day,' which is an annual celebration of the anticipated end of the world. These characters range the gamut from an asexual adolescent on a journey of self-discovery, to a special needs woman trying to track down her family, to a tattoo artist attempting to make amends, to ast 3.5 stars rounded down to 3, since the ending was so upsetting I had nightmares. Last Day tells the story of multiple characters, connected by varying degrees of separation, as they celebrate the international holiday "Last Day,' which is an annual celebration of the anticipated end of the world. These characters range the gamut from an asexual adolescent on a journey of self-discovery, to a special needs woman trying to track down her family, to a tattoo artist attempting to make amends, to astronauts on board the ISS, and many others. In addition, inter-spliced between the chapters are short vignettes describing the history of the Last Day holiday, and the various ways that different countries and cultures observe and celebrate. As a side note, these vignettes were honestly some of my favorite parts of the book, and were some of the most creative and expansive bits of world building, in a book that aimed to increasingly 'build a world' as it went along. There is part of me that wishes there could be a graphic novella accompaniment that goes into further details of the history and present day Last Day celebrations--I would buy it in a heartbeat. As for the book itself. There is a lot of good here. The initial central characters are well formed and distinct in their voices, though at times there was a bit too much of growing mystery about their pasts which was never explained. The Last Day vignettes, as I mentioned above, were fantastic. I admire the ambition of this book, and think it's a new take on the apocalyptic fiction genre--though I would NEVER make a comparison to Station Eleven. This is squarely in the apocalyptic/actual apocalypse space, not in the post-apocalyptic/ 'we can learn about life by seeing how people deal with encountered death and tragedy' But as the book went on, it got a bit too big for its constraints. More and more characters and settings were added, particularly in the last few pages, to little benefit, and at the expense of spending one last moment with our main characters. The ways that all the characters connected became increasingly more tenuous and forced, sometimes to the point of improbability. The ending, as I noted above, was truly disturbing and upsetting, though I guess that's not really a negative--it's just a thing to be aware of. Of all the post-apocalyptic books I've read, this one is the most bleak--not only in the end of the world, but in its belief in the ability of characters to ever change and grow. Ultimately, while I think this book was very well-written and will appeal to a lot of people, I'm not sure I can say I enjoyed it. Thank you to Net Galley and Random House for the free ARC, in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    A world that celebrates earth's last day. We follow the lives of four characters for a bit. They explore the present and the past. Wondering what if this were the year that it all ends. Their lives never piqued my interest. Maybe Bear's but not the rest. Sarah was naive, Kurt disgusting, Karen weird. Their conversations were unnatural. The characters kept getting laid at random. And the only time things got interesting was the last 10 pages. And I am pretty disappointed to have follow A world that celebrates earth's last day. We follow the lives of four characters for a bit. They explore the present and the past. Wondering what if this were the year that it all ends. Their lives never piqued my interest. Maybe Bear's but not the rest. Sarah was naive, Kurt disgusting, Karen weird. Their conversations were unnatural. The characters kept getting laid at random. And the only time things got interesting was the last 10 pages. And I am pretty disappointed to have followed the whole story until the end. All for naught. The premise was interesting and the story should have followed suit. How could everything have developed through such meaningless drivel? I'm just happy that the story was short. And the end had finally come.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Despite not really being able to connect with the main characters (an astronaut on the international space station, a 40 ish tattoo artist, a teenager, and a bi-polar woman) I enjoyed the first 3/4 of this book. It centers on May 28, a day celebrated throughout the world as "Last Day", ie: the world will literally end. Despite the world going on, this day has been a holiday throughout different cultures for thousands of years, and Ruta does a nice job of exploring how different parts of the worl Despite not really being able to connect with the main characters (an astronaut on the international space station, a 40 ish tattoo artist, a teenager, and a bi-polar woman) I enjoyed the first 3/4 of this book. It centers on May 28, a day celebrated throughout the world as "Last Day", ie: the world will literally end. Despite the world going on, this day has been a holiday throughout different cultures for thousands of years, and Ruta does a nice job of exploring how different parts of the world observe it. (Many do irresponsible things, and Americans usually have a big bonfire, everyone burning something symbolic). The book bounces between characters, and while at first they seem random, their interconnectedness surfaces in interesting degrees. However, I had major issues with the ending, both the actual story, and how the story is written, that really reduced my enjoyment of the book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    2.5 stars rounded up to 3. I was drawn in by the premise (I love a good old apocalypse) and especially by the comparison to Station Eleven. While I did enjoy the prose, I never felt a connection to any of the characters, so most of the story felt like it was dragging on while I was just trying to find out what happened next. I didn't really care what happened to any of these people. Station Eleven this is not -- the comparison stops at the apocalyptic theme. That said, since I only finish about 2.5 stars rounded up to 3. I was drawn in by the premise (I love a good old apocalypse) and especially by the comparison to Station Eleven. While I did enjoy the prose, I never felt a connection to any of the characters, so most of the story felt like it was dragging on while I was just trying to find out what happened next. I didn't really care what happened to any of these people. Station Eleven this is not -- the comparison stops at the apocalyptic theme. That said, since I only finish about 10% of the books I start, I enjoyed reading this one enough to keep going until the end.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ian Mond

    My review of this novel is published in the July 2019 issue of Locus.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    On the night of May 27-May 28 on an alternate earth, people around the world celebrate Last Night. The holiday has ancient roots. On this night, people try to make amends to people they’ve wrong; make sacrifices; or just light bonfires, drink, and have a good time. Domenica Ruta’s Last Day jumps from character to character on one Last Night in an unknown year. All of the characters are isolated from their friends and families for a variety of reasons. All are seeking something—a sense of connection On the night of May 27-May 28 on an alternate earth, people around the world celebrate Last Night. The holiday has ancient roots. On this night, people try to make amends to people they’ve wrong; make sacrifices; or just light bonfires, drink, and have a good time. Domenica Ruta’s Last Day jumps from character to character on one Last Night in an unknown year. All of the characters are isolated from their friends and families for a variety of reasons. All are seeking something—a sense of connection, most of all—and all of them struggle to relate to the people around them. In addition to all this is the lingering question: what if this Last Night is the Last Night? Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Last Day by Domenica Ruta describes how different people "celebrate" the Last Day, a yearly holiday in anticipating of the end of the world. Focusing on several characters, including a team on an international space station, a tattoo artist, a teen girl, Ruta depicts existential dread in various forms and flavors. I really liked the different characters, and the ending definitely stuck with me. It's very bleak and dark with unlikable characters, which worked for me in this book (though I don't a Last Day by Domenica Ruta describes how different people "celebrate" the Last Day, a yearly holiday in anticipating of the end of the world. Focusing on several characters, including a team on an international space station, a tattoo artist, a teen girl, Ruta depicts existential dread in various forms and flavors. I really liked the different characters, and the ending definitely stuck with me. It's very bleak and dark with unlikable characters, which worked for me in this book (though I don't always enjoy it in other contexts). Unlike other reviewers, I somehow missed the comparison to Station Eleven, which is probably for the best. Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    Every May 28, people around the world celebrate Last Day. Each culture, in their own ways and rituals, gather to spend the day as their last. In this story we meet several characters interwoven throughout the book. Three astronauts on the International Space Station, a tattoo artist, and a Jehovah Witness woman, are just a few people we meet celebrating this ancient holiday. I love books(and movies) exploring the end of earth. This book is a good addition to the genre. I liked the writing, the c Every May 28, people around the world celebrate Last Day. Each culture, in their own ways and rituals, gather to spend the day as their last. In this story we meet several characters interwoven throughout the book. Three astronauts on the International Space Station, a tattoo artist, and a Jehovah Witness woman, are just a few people we meet celebrating this ancient holiday. I love books(and movies) exploring the end of earth. This book is a good addition to the genre. I liked the writing, the characters were interesting, and the ending, well..... Great move to publish on May 28. Thank you NetGalley. #Last Day #NetGalley #RandomHouse

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shawn I.

    Good writing, ok story. The characters were somewhat interesting but none particularly likeable and failed to make me feel invested in their journeys.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Leighellen

    This is a really interesting and unique novel. A part of me wants to mull it over for a week or two before writing my review, but I decided to write while it's all still fresh in my head and I'm a little unsteady about the whole thing. The concept pulled me in - all across earth, people from around the world are celebrating a holiday called Last Day. It was predicted long ago that the world would end on a certain day, so every year on the day before it is supposed to happen, people gather in pre This is a really interesting and unique novel. A part of me wants to mull it over for a week or two before writing my review, but I decided to write while it's all still fresh in my head and I'm a little unsteady about the whole thing. The concept pulled me in - all across earth, people from around the world are celebrating a holiday called Last Day. It was predicted long ago that the world would end on a certain day, so every year on the day before it is supposed to happen, people gather in preparation. Every culture honors it a little differently. Some people go around asking for forgiveness or redemption. Some people burn items of importance. Some towns host parades. This isn't a linear story or a traditional novel with a protagonist and a problem to solve. This book has MANY stories and follows several main characters. It reads more like multiple short stories, with all stories focussing on the theme of how they each chose to honor Last Day. It can be tough in the beginning since each character is so vastly different - from a middle aged astronaut at a space station to a teenage girl at home with her family and everything in between - and you wonder how it all comes together. I ended up making a chart to keep track of who was who. This helped me as the novel progressed and bounced around from each location. What works with this format is the authors ability to look at traditions and superstitions. By swapping viewpoints throughout the novel, the author is able to cast a bigger picture of how Last Day works and allow us to get a feel for overall society's mindset at this time and space. What results is deep dive into each characters while still getting a birds eye view of the entire world. It reminded me somewhat of There There but with less emotional attachment to the characters. In this book, however, the individual character maps don't ever cross each other. They aren't meant to come together but rather form your perception of Last Day and make you think - what would YOU do? I loved the historical markers throughout the novel where the author explained how certain traditions came about throughout time or how some were changed and why. It allowed the author to make us think about several social issues, religion, and culture without it becoming a book focussed on those issues. The exploration of all these things rises organically out of the characters living their lives, and is never preachy or judgemental. It does make you ponder why we do what we do culturally - how did Santa come about from baby Jesus? what does a bunny and painted eggs have to do with Easter? This book is unsettling, but I think it is supposed to be. Not all of the characters are likable and neither are their Last Day choices - but I think that's the point. Some people seek redemption in the end while others want one last hoorah. I thought the ending was unique and unexpected yet fitting. It would make for a great book club read as I'm sure plenty of people will hate it!! But that brings about great discussion. I had to reread the last chapters twice to make sure I got it all. My brain is still grinding away trying to process it. Thank you to Net Galley and Random House Publishing for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review. #LastDay #NetGalley #randomhousepublishing

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lenoire

    Once a year on May 28, all of humanity gather to celebrate the day of the planet's demise. People party and act as it is the last day they are alive. Sarah is a bookish wunderkind who is looking for love. She felt that she has always been asexual but, she finds herself attracted to an older man, Kurt. Sarah and Kurt met last year during her parents' Last Day BBQ. Kurt is a tattoo artist who is trying to make amends to a family he destroyed years ago. Karen consistently gets in t Once a year on May 28, all of humanity gather to celebrate the day of the planet's demise. People party and act as it is the last day they are alive. Sarah is a bookish wunderkind who is looking for love. She felt that she has always been asexual but, she finds herself attracted to an older man, Kurt. Sarah and Kurt met last year during her parents' Last Day BBQ. Kurt is a tattoo artist who is trying to make amends to a family he destroyed years ago. Karen consistently gets in trouble. She was abused at a young age and suffers from an eating disorder. After getting into trouble again, she decides to abandon her current life and search for her long lost adoptive brother. Her friend, Rosette left the Jehovah's Witness and follows a new pastor who has different opinions about the Last Day. Rosette tries to help Karen as she believes it will her atone for her past sins. When Karen calls Rosette for help, she takes Karen to the church in hopes that it will help her. Three astronauts on the International Space Station are witnessing the Last Day spectacle in Space. Bear, an American astronaut along with Russian astronaut, Svec, and a Japanese space tourist, Yui contemplate their lives during the Last Day festivities. Together they band together and share stories of their native customs for the Last Day. At first, I thought this was going to be an interesting read. Then, I was quite confused by some of the behaviors of the characters especially when they tried changing their behaviors. After I read more about each character I understood their motives. The book depicts how one person's actions have an effect on other people lives. I found that to be an interesting concept that something trivial to you can mean the world to someone else. Overall, the book was thought-provoking but, I am not sure if it was my cup of tea.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mercedes

    **2.5 Stars** This is now the second book I've read that has been compared to 'Station Eleven', and it's the second book I've read that is NOTHING LIKE 'STATION ELEVEN'. I really wish publishers would STOP comparing their mediocre dystopian-esq novels to the beautiful story that is 'Station Eleven'. It just pisses readers off and sets them up for disappointment. Also, this story is NOT dystopian. At all. Anyway... I'll start this review by telling readers what they REALLY want to know **2.5 Stars** This is now the second book I've read that has been compared to 'Station Eleven', and it's the second book I've read that is NOTHING LIKE 'STATION ELEVEN'. I really wish publishers would STOP comparing their mediocre dystopian-esq novels to the beautiful story that is 'Station Eleven'. It just pisses readers off and sets them up for disappointment. Also, this story is NOT dystopian. At all. Anyway... I'll start this review by telling readers what they REALLY want to know while reading this book. Yes...the world comes to an end at the end. No, I will not go into how or when, or anything explaining it, but that's all I really wanted to know while reading this. In fact, it's the main reason I KEPT reading it. To see if and how the world would end (it's actually kind of terrifying in how absolute it is). None of the characters drew me in. I didn't care for any of them...Karen's a broken, crazy woman who is incredibly depressing to read about. Sarah (with an 'H'!) is a sixteen year old girl trying WAAAAAY too hard to be what she perceives as deep and mature, but comes off as bratty and selfish. And Kurt is a creepy guy in his 40's preying upon the aforementioned sixteen year old girl (it's really skeevy and gross). The three astronauts, Bear, Svec and Yui were my favorite to read about. Well, Bear and Svec. Yui is kind of...weird. I really liked having the perspective of three people so completely removed from Earth itself. As for the writing? Well....this is a little harder for me to review. Much of it is written very well, but in many places (especially the ending), it comes off as trying to hard to be flowery and poetic. I don't know...I know how I want to describe it in my head, but I can't really explain it. Some sections are written in a way where you have to go back and re-read them to really understand what's happening. Nothing is really CLEAR, and that frustrates me. There's a lot of pointless descriptions and side-stories sprinkled throughout that have no meaning to the overall story. Like the dolphins at the end, or the kid with the rabbits, or Mary's psycho sister, Sarah. So many characters are thrown at you (especially near the end) that they mean nothing because you can't keep them all straight. Overall, I don't know that I would recommend this to anyone I know. I CERTAINLY wouldn't recommend it to fans of 'Station Eleven', because they'll be in for a major disappointment. It's by no means a terrible book, but it's definitely a slow, slow burn, with a mild payout in the end. *** I received an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

  30. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    I was on the verge of rating this 3 stars, but the last portion of the book really fell short. The ending seemed rushed and I felt there was a lot of unnecessary parts of the book. I wasn’t sure what they added or why they were there. I really had high hopes for these characters, but they never really came together in the end. The author is a beautiful writer but the story didn’t do too much for me. On a positive note the 1st half was great.

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