The Last Conversation by Paul Tremblay
fulfills the category “Shortest
Book in my TBR List” for the PopSugar 2021 Reading Challenge. It is fifty-five
pages. I listened to the audio version, which was one hour and forty-five
minutes. It is not the shortest on my list.
I panicked for this post. I read half of two
different books for this week’s blog. One was flat out boring, and in the
other, I couldn’t find
one character I liked. I also read a much-hyped romance story, but it left me
wanting. I didn’t wish to air my feelings on the blog. So…I had to go for the
shortest book prompt.
I read four
titles for the category—Brokeback Mountain (64 pages), The Year of
Magical Thinking (accidentally got the abridged at 1.75 hours audio), The
Last Conversation, and ’Til
(only available in audio, 35 minutes). Only one worked for the blog. I loved Brokeback,
but what else can you say about it? And the second one, I could not connect.
That may have been the reader or a poor abridgment. (Note: I NEVER read
abridged items. I grabbed this title for free on Audible and didn’t read the
fine print.) The third I discovered was a prelude to a video game. How cool is
that! I might use it for the “different format” prompt. I also started The
Left Hand of Darkness, a BBC radio dramatization, which could also work for
both categories. My point is, I scrambled for something this week.
Sorry that this post is a mess.
The Last Conversation is part of the Forward
Collection. It is a series of six novellas written by some of today’s best writers. Author Blake
Crouch contemplated today’s
rapidly advancing technology. With this idea, he challenged fellow
authors to write about a “pivotal
technological moment” that would change the world and the repercussions of that
innovation. Paul Tremblay, Andy Weir, Amor Towles, and Veronica Roth are among
those who took up the challenge. The two I’ve read from the collection are pure
Without giving the entire plot of this short novel,
our protagonist wakes blind into a world he doesn’t understand. He’s in pain and confused. A single human
voice is his light in the darkness as he recovers and learns about what he’s
woken into. Mr. Tremblay makes a new twist on pandemic fiction. (Yes, there’s
killing disease, but the story is set in the aftermath.) We only see our hero’s
point of view, and half the passages are in second person. That’s right. The
author addresses the reader as You. “Your room is dark. You cannot see
anything.” What a way to start! What a way to write! No one does second person
pov. But in doing so, Mr. Tremblay invites the reader into the protagonist’s head
on a deep level. From the start, we need to know who “we” are and what’s going
on. And for me, it doesn’t hurt the novella starts with a very Zork line. (Some
of you will get that.)
Long and short: Interesting story, interesting
collection, great authors
I give The
Last Conversation by Paul Tremblay Four Little Brown Houses.