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Every Last Cuckoo
     

Every Last Cuckoo

3.6 30
by Kate Maloy
 

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Sarah Lucas imagined the rest of her days would be spent living peacefully in her rural Vermont home in the steadfast company of her husband. But now, with Charles's sudden passing, seventy-five-year-old Sarah is left inconsolably alone.

As grief settles in, Sarah's mind lingers on her past: her imperfect but devoted fifty-year marriage to Charles; the years

Overview

Sarah Lucas imagined the rest of her days would be spent living peacefully in her rural Vermont home in the steadfast company of her husband. But now, with Charles's sudden passing, seventy-five-year-old Sarah is left inconsolably alone.

As grief settles in, Sarah's mind lingers on her past: her imperfect but devoted fifty-year marriage to Charles; the years they spent raising their three very different children; and her childhood during the Great Depression, when her parents opened their home to countless relatives and neighbors. So, when a variety of wayward souls come seeking shelter in Sarah's own big, empty home, her past comes full circle. As this unruly flock forms a family of sorts, they—with Sarah—nurture and protect one another, all the while discovering their unsuspected strengths and courage.

In the tradition of Jane Smiley and Sue Miller, Kate Maloy has crafted a wise and gratifying novel about a woman who gracefully accepts a surprising new role just when she though her best years were behind her.

Editorial Reviews

MSNBC.COM
"Every Last Cuckoo is an impressive step in a new literary direction."— MSNBC.com column, “Can't Miss: This Week's Best Offerings," week of 1/20 - 1/26
People Magazine
"The appeal of Maloy's debut—which has the fast-forward quality of a fairy tale—is not in its subtlety but in its conviction."—People, 3-star review
New Orleans Times-Picayune
"Kate Maloy's sweetly inspiring first novel, "Every Last Cuckoo," is a lovely meditation on what miracles can happen when we simply open our hearts. . . . Maloy's novel grabs the reader by the heart — it is rare indeed to find such assured fiction about love that endures over time. . . . In this portrait of a long and loving marriage, Maloy gives us a real human family, with all its love and conflict and change, as well as a look at the richness that can come with age."—New Orleans Times-Picayune
Roanoke Times
"A wonderful story of human potential and what is possible when strangers become family. . . . This heartwarming tale is an excellent read."—Roanoke Times
The Olympia Olympian
"A story about the profound gifts of time, love, and loss. . . . Maloy's message is about affirming the profundity of grief by expressing that energy in positive ways. This story is her generous vision of how things could be."—The Olympian
The New Orleans Times-Picayune
"Maloy's novel grabs the reader by the heart...In this portrait of a long and loving marriage, [she] gives us a real human family, with all its love and conflict and change, as well as a look at the richness that can come with age." —The New Orleans Times-Picayune
People
"The appeal of Maloy's debut—which has the fast-forward quality of a fairy tale—is not in its subtlety but in its conviction." —People
Oregonian
"Marvelous...Its tenderly wrought portrayal of elderly life has an unexpectedly powerful effect." —The Oregonian
From the Publisher
"A story about the profound gifts of time, love, and loss. . . . Maloy's message is about affirming the profundity of grief by expressing that energy in positive ways. This story is her generous vision of how things could be."—The Olympian

"Maloy's novel grabs the reader by the heart...In this portrait of a long and loving marriage, [she] gives us a real human family, with all its love and conflict and change, as well as a look at the richness that can come with age." —The New Orleans Times-Picayune

"The appeal of Maloy's debut—which has the fast-forward quality of a fairy tale—is not in its subtlety but in its conviction." —People

"Marvelous...Its tenderly wrought portrayal of elderly life has an unexpectedly powerful effect." —The Oregonian

"A truly engrossing novel...This lovely tale depicts the surprises and changes that come with aging...An excellent book club selection." —Library Journal

Publishers Weekly

Maloy explored northern landscapes and Quaker faith in her memoir A Stone Bridge North; she returns to both in her moving debut novel. When 75-year-old Sarah Lucas's husband, Charles, succumbs to an injury at the peak of a particularly brutal Vermont winter, her worst later-life fears of physical mishap are realized. In grief, Sarah's memories take her back to the Great Depression, when her parents generously opened their home to countless friends and relatives, and to her own regretted missteps as a parent. The chance to recreate the one experience and rectify the other arrives uninvited when a variety of lost souls-Sarah's own teenage granddaughter; an Israeli pacifist; a devastated young mother and child-seek shelter and solace in Sarah's too-empty home. The motley assortment of characters, many of whom have been touched by violence, deliver passionate apostrophes on peace and justice, and together Sarah and her boarders discover unseen beauty in the landscape, uncover hidden talents and develop a nurturing, healing community. Maloy's wordplay and startling nature imagery enchant, but readers will have to decide if the spectacular climax, an expression of its characters' principles in action, is out of place with the novel's quiet thoughtfulness. (Jan.)

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Library Journal

This lovely tale depicts the surprises and changes that come about with aging. Upon the unexpected death of her husband, Sarah finds strength and a capacity for caring that she never thought she would know without him. Amid bittersweet memories of her beloved Charles, Sarah becomes the unlikely den mother to an ever-growing bunch of lost souls. Surprising her wary family and even herself, she discovers a will to go on and share her home and thus her heart again. She likens the way her house fills with boarders to the way in which a cuckoo inserts itself into the nest of another bird and make its home there. Maloy (A Stone Bridge North) has created a truly engrossing novel, with situations at times both joyful and horribly sad and an entirely likable protagonist surrounded by an eclectic cast of friends and family. An excellent book club selection; highly recommended for public libraries.
—Leann Restaino

Kirkus Reviews
From Maloy (A Stone Bridge North: Reflections on a New Life, 2002), an earnest novel about a septuagenarian finding a second life after the death of her husband. Sarah and Charles are enjoying old age. Things aren't implausibly perfect-Sarah has a contentious relationship with daughter Charlotte, and Charles can't connect with son David-but they have a rich life in their native Vermont, with friends and fulfilling pursuits. The first third of the story follows Sarah and Charles as they conduct daily business, with Sarah reminiscing about their long and mostly happy marriage. This may sound like dull stuff, but this is the best of the novel, a striking portrait of a marriage that is as imperfect and amiable as its participants. Then one day Charles has an accident while hiking, and dies shortly thereafter from his injuries. Sarah mourns but soon her new, entirely unplanned life begins. Mordechai (her friend's Israeli cousin) moves into a small cabin on her property to write his book. Then teenage granddaughter Lottie moves in because she simply can't bear another day with her parents. After that, Sarah allows a few of Lottie's friends, similarly rebelling, to live in the large house too. It vaguely reminds Sarah of her Depression childhood home, peopled with her extended family, a poor but companionable bunch. Then Sandy and her five-year-old, Tyler, move in (their trailer burned down) and then Josie, who ran away from her abusive husband with her infant son. Sarah's son David quips that his childhood home has been turned into a commune, and there is certainly that feeling of camaraderie among the unlikely roommates. Sarah takes up photography and meditation and attempts to mend herrelationship with Charlotte before it's too late. Though the latter half of the novel is filled with people and their various stories, its heart is back at the beginning with Sarah and Charles. All that follows feels a bit predictable. A likable if uneven tale of discovering yourself in old age.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781565126756
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
05/12/2009
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
479,277
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Kate Maloy is the author of the memoir A Stone Bridge North: Reflections in a New Life. Her work has been published online in Literary Mama and VerbSap and in the Readerville Journal, the Kenyon Review, and the anthologies For Keeps and Choice. She lives with her husband on the central coast of Oregon. Author Web site: www.katemaloy.com.

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Every Last Cuckoo 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kate Maloy has written the most fantastic book. Its not about magic or vampires or anything that everyone now days seems to want to read about. Every Last Cuckoo is a book about life, and all the good things that you can achieve in it. This lovely little book tells of one womans capacity to love and care for her family and friends and even strangers at the time when she is at her lowest. She discovers that nature can heal and not all of life is perfect but life still goes on.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once I started his book I couldnt put it down.To be honest,I havent even finished it yet.I am savoring the last few chapters because I dont want it to end.I just want to live next door to these people:) I have been married for 23 years and have had our highs and lows.Kate explains a longtime marriage wtih such grace.Their as even a in a part in the book that I put in a card for my husband.She touched me so much.Made me rethink family....made me realize how lucky I am to have the husband I have.Thank you so much Kate.I checked this out from the library but am buying this one for my own!!!!
PaulineMA More than 1 year ago
I didn't know what to expect but the title intrigued me and the blurb sounded like something I'd like. Plus I loved the cover. I really enjoyed the characters in this book, the setting in Vermont and the descriptions made me feel like I was right there with them in the story. Sarah reveals her present and little bits of her past through the this story. Her ups and downs. I love how she came to acknowledge her faults and even how she resolved differences. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I'm so happy I found it!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful book. Can't add much to Jen's earlier review of this title. It was a great story that I hated to see end.
snowshoe27 More than 1 year ago
When life throws you a curved ball go with it. This story of an elderly couple and their grown children and grand children takes you on a journey of life changes and discovery of one's self. I enjoyed this book because it is the story of how even the elderly can change and find a new sense of purpose and happiness.
Eliza_Berry 6 months ago
I first read this book in 2014, and I've found myself returning to it again and again, each time finding something new and personally rewarding. The perspectives and interactions among the people in the book shine new light on my own experiences as the years pass.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Library, not purchase.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Refreshing? I guess even after reading this I felt short of being enlightened or encouraged in any significant way. Read the free sample and if you love the style it is right for you. I read the sample and took the 1:99 bet. Oh well, at least I didn't lose much money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a page turner. I enjoyed it very much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was beautifully descriptive in nature. I felt I really got to know the landscape and wildlife of Vermont and how Sarah was truly feeling. Love was a major theme, while some elements were just a tad far fetched. Such as, the amount and age of houseguests. So many characters to remember and keep track of!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thoroughly enjoyed the story and characters in this book. Would recommended it highly to persons 50+.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found it difficult to follow the plot in the beginning of the book because there was no definitive indication that the character was reminiscing. The story addresses family relationships. It also promotes the use of marijuana.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has great insight into the mind of a 60-70 year olds loves,regrets,relationships, and knowing that the end is near. It also gave me hope that life can be good after that 50 year old love of your life dies.
Stevewin More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this book. Makes one reflect and think.When you finish ,it is like drinking the last of a glass of water and feeling refreshed.
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