Last Noel

( 853 )

Overview

Award-winning author Michael Malone's The Last Noel is a beautiful gift to American fiction. In a deeply touching tale, The Last Noel captures the exuberance and poignance of a lasting friendship between a man and a woman from very different backgrounds. Noni Tilden and Kaye King grow up and grow close as their lives come dramatically together through four decades of tumultuous change in a small southern town.

The story begins in 1963 when Kaye first meets Noni on the eve of ...

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Last Noel

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Overview

Award-winning author Michael Malone's The Last Noel is a beautiful gift to American fiction. In a deeply touching tale, The Last Noel captures the exuberance and poignance of a lasting friendship between a man and a woman from very different backgrounds. Noni Tilden and Kaye King grow up and grow close as their lives come dramatically together through four decades of tumultuous change in a small southern town.

The story begins in 1963 when Kaye first meets Noni on the eve of their seventh birthdays. On that Christmas Eve, Kaye climbs through her bedroom window to invite her to come sledding with him in a rare southern snowfall. Over the next thirty years on twelve days of Christmas, they meet to share the passion, the sacrifice and the romance of a lifetime. At once exquisitely written and tearfully joyful, The Last Noel is one of the great love stories of our time.

A Book Sense 76 Top 10 Selection

"Malone's latest novel reaffirms his brilliance in crafting carefully plotted fiction with a literary burnish, most often through Southern manners and intrigue."
-Denver Post

"A warm, engaging love story."
-Booklist

"Malone writes with such quiet authority and clear understanding of the world his characters inhabit that the story strikes deep emotional chords."-Washington Post Book World

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Noni, a white woman, and Kaye, an African-American man, are born on Christmas Day, 1955. Just before their eighth birthday, they meet. On 12 different Christmas Days, we watch them as they reunite. Like a ballet duet, their comings and goings draw our attention and sympathy.
Publishers Weekly
Scarcely a month after J.F.K.'s assassination, two seven-year-old children-a spoiled, white North Carolina girl born on Christmas Eve and a poor, street-smart Philadelphia black boy born hours later on Christmas Day-take a sleigh ride early Christmas morning and begin a lifelong friendship. After an intriguing opening, this earnest fable about social change from veteran novelist Divided into 12 unevenly spaced vignettes-each set during the Christmas season-the plot traces the star-crossed friendship of Noni Tilden, daughter of her town's richest family, and Kaye King, grandson of Noni's mother's maid, across a span of four decades. The familiar characters verge on stereotypes: Noni's father, Bud, is a hard-drinking former basketball jock; her mother a snobby socialite; her brother, Wade, a bigoted, scheming land developer. Aunt Ma, Kaye's grandmother, is a kind but tough woman who "knows to keep her place in a white man's world." Malone (First Lady) also has a corny way of introducing bits of race-related history and period details into the narrative ("Judy's doing it. It's called aerobics," says one cocktail party guest to another). The story does pick up some momentum about two-thirds of the way through, and readers who stay the course will be rewarded with a sentimental, fitfully affecting drama of sibling feuds and divorces, loss and reconciliation. (Nov.) Forecast: Sourcebooks Landmark is counting on Malone's crowd-pleasing abilities to make this a big Christmas book-a 100,000 first printing is planned. The price is definitely right, and a strong marketing campaign and seven-city author tour should help, though the book will face stiff competition from other Christmas releases and classics. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Malone moves from short stories (Red Clay, Blue Cadillac) and police procedurals (First Lady) to create a novel of enduring friendship. Daughter to the wealthy Tildens of Moors, NC, Noni is born on Christmas Eve 1956. Hours later, on Christmas Day, Kaye arrives as a new grandson to the King family, longtime black servants to the white Tildens. Noni and Kaye meet on Christmas Day in 1963 as seven-year-olds and forge a bond that survives every effort to separate them. The novel is arranged in 12 chapters, covering Christmases over 40 years. Through the prism of Kaye and Noni and their extended families and friends, the author sheds light on American culture and especially its range of relationships. Though expertly imagined, this book will mostly appeal to the lucrative women's market, especially with its tearjerker ending. And while definitely Southern in setting and characters, it doesn't have the authenticity of recent works from other North Carolinians, such as Pamela Duncan's Moon Women and Robert Morgan's This Rock. For public libraries with ample fiction budgets or where Malone has a following.-Rebecca Sturm Kelm, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
The Washington Post
Malone uses minutely observed encounters, textured with memories, to explore the nature of friendship, family and inexplicable affection. His art transforms set pieces of melodrama into poignant human drama.
Kirkus Reviews
The latest southern saga from Malone (Red Clay, Blue Cadillac, 2002, etc.) reaches across 40 years in the lives of two childhood friends who see each other mainly at Christmas. Noelle ("Noni") Tilden was born on Christmas Day 1956. So was John ("Kaye") King. In their hometown of Moors, North Carolina, everybody knows just about everybody else, so it's inevitable that the two are going to meet-and they do, on Christmas Eve 1963. Noni's family are prominent local citizens (her grandfather founded the town bank), while Kaye's folks are poor blacks (his grandmother keeps house for the Tildens). But Noni and Kaye become friends and grow up together during the turbulent 1960s and '70s. The story is broken into 12 chapters, each set on or near a Christmas Day, and it follows the fates of the Tildens and Kings with the clarity of a family album. Kaye's mother goes mad and leaves him to the care of his grandparents; he becomes radicalized by the black power movements of the Nixon years before making peace with the world and going on to medical school and a successful practice. Noni loses her beloved elder brother Gordon in Vietnam, marries local boy Roland Hurd, and settles down to raise a family. Most of the developments are realistically gradual and unsurprising (Noni's hell-raising brother Wade gets himself into trouble again and again as a boy and grows up to run a string of unprofitable businesses; Kaye's wheelchair-bound grandfather loses all ambition and spends his last decades dozing in the sun), but there are also moments of more intense drama, as when Noni develops a cancerous tumor and Kaye is called in to save her. But even that intensity seems to arise out of patterns and traditionsset long before. A quietly moving tale of people formed and trapped by history and locale, told with an authentic taste for the region. First printing of 100,000; author tour
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402201479
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/2003
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 568,021
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Malone
Michael Malone is the author of ten novels, a collection of short stories and two works of nonfiction. Educated at Carolina and at Harvard, he is now a professor in Theater Studies at Duke University. Among his prizes are the Edgar, the O. Henry, the Writers Guild Award, and the Emmy. He lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina, with his wife.

Biography

Michael Malone is a novelist as well as the author of short stories, works of nonfiction, several plays, and daytime television drama. He was born in the Piedmont region of North Carolina and his distinctive Southern voice permeates his books, which he describes as "centered in the comedy of the shared communion among very diverse groups of people who are bound together by place and the past."

Michael's writing has been compared to Miguel De Cervantes, Charles Dickens and Henry Fielding. He is the recipient of The O. Henry Award for "Fast Love," the Edgar for "Red Clay" and an Emmy as head writer of ABC-TV's One Life to Live.

Michael lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina with his wife, Maureen, whom he met while they were working toward their doctoral degrees at Harvard University.

Author biography courtesy of Sourcebooks, Inc.

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    1. Hometown:
      Hillsborough, North Carolina
    1. Education:
      B.A., Syracuse University; Ph.D. in English, Harvard University

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 853 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(450)

4 Star

(240)

3 Star

(74)

2 Star

(43)

1 Star

(46)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 853 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2008

    Awesome

    I have read hundreds and hundreds of books and this is the only book I read where I had tears rolling down my cheeks. Anyone who can make you cry with only words written on paper is a true master of the art of writing. I recommend reading this on a cold winter's night in front of your fireplace with a box of tissue and some hot chocolate!

    57 out of 57 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2004

    Moving Love Story

    I loved this book! I just finished it while on my lunch break and I had such a hard time trying not to cry. This was a beautiful love story spanning 40 years. Noni and Kaye are two characters I will remember for a long time.

    49 out of 59 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2003

    Compelling

    This is one of my favorites. I never thought I could be so enthralled with a novel as I was with this one, nor did I think I could ever cry reading a novel. This is a story I would definately recommend to my friends.

    29 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 2, 2011

    I couldn't stop reading~highly recommended!

    What a wonderful book for a winter's night. I think this is one I will read again and again.

    27 out of 37 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2002

    An outstanding read!!!!

    This is an extremely well-written and deeply thoughtful book. It takes the reader through a lifetime of the very divergent paths taken by two childhood friends, who deeply love each other throughout everything. The characters are wonderfully developed, and it is just plain a terrific read! It runs the emotional gamut, and takes the reader right along on this emotional ride! Loved it!

    21 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2003

    Bruce, OKC; online reviewer

    This is a great book. I heard about it on NPR during a drive home and had to pick up a copy. This book seemed to pull me in as though I were a virtual friend of Noni and Kaye. To me this book demonstrates how precious time and love are. I didn't know a grown man could cry from a book. I have recommended it to my family and friends.

    18 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    Thanks for bring back Free Fridays!!!!

    Thanks for bring back Free Fridays!!!!

    17 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2004

    Major Tear Jerker

    Loved the book. Great story of love and friendship...how society's mores subconsciously impact what we do or don't do.

    17 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2005

    This book is just to......

    At the beginning of the book i'll admit I wasn't really interested in it. So I paused it, then when I decided to go back to it again, I couldn't stop. I dont remember me reading a book so fast. This book brought so many diffrent emotions to me, it made me feel as though I were one of the characters. I loved this book and I definetely recommend it to everybody.

    14 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    Beautiful and touching

    A wonderfully crafted story. Thanks to the writer and B & N.

    13 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2002

    Perfect Holiday Reading!!

    Michael Malone has been my absolute favorite author for years and this book tops them all. This love story is so wonderfully moving and the characters are great as always.As I got near the end I couldn't see the pages through my tears. Please Mr.Malone keep writing these terrific novels. I will always remain one of your biggest fans.

    10 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2002

    Every Day Is Christmas In This Book!

    Love this book! Kaye and Noni are two people I will always remember. I was sad to see the book end. I'm a very picky reader and was easily carried throughout this story. Thank you, Mr. Malone.

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    Anonymous

    This is a beautiful story about two people who loved each other, but never fully committed to each other, that is in marriage. It is also a sad story that brought tears to my eyes. How two people who truly loved each other could not make their relationship work. I think Noelle's family played an important part. Thank you B&N for this free wonderful story.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2012

    Wonderful read

    I am a voracious reader but I rarely ever write reviews about what I've read. I stayed up way too late last night finishing this book with tears rolling down my cheeks. I woke up this morning thinking about this book and have been thinking about it all day. This book is a beautifully written, heartbreaking novel that I would recommend to anyone. Read it.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2012

    Yes!!

    So romantic. So heartbreaking. Beautiful, beautiful story! Best free friday yet!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 11, 2012

    One of the best books I have read.  Loved the characters and the

    One of the best books I have read.  Loved the characters and the story line.  Hated to come to the end.  A book that will stay with me for a long time. 

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2012

    Sappy

    Not badly written, but the story was like something you'd see on the Hallmark Channel.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2012

    Two things to say

    1) Really good book. I will look for more from this author and 2) People can take a joke these days but no one should have to put up with things like that especially if they are looking for reviews on a book not bull crap about molesting children. Kids have nooks too! I am twelve and I have a nook. I agree with the people who said that Barnes and Noble need to take that review off and now. >:(

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2012

    Awesome story

    This story caught me on the first page, and never let me go. I finished it in 2 sittings......just could not put it down. Noni and Kaye's lifelong journey through friendship and love made me laugh and cry. I loved this heartwarming, heartbreaking story.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2012

    Good read

    This was a free friday book and it turned out to be a good read, I would look for this Author again.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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