Cover Image: Dava Shastri's Last Day

Dava Shastri's Last Day

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I LOVED this concept and setting — winter storm around Christmas when the whole family is gathered unknowingly to say goodbye to their ailing matriarch. the book flashes back and forth from the main timeline (2044) and Dava's past — from her glamorous life, her marriage to the love of her life, her secret affair, and her early days of motherhood. I got lost at some times just due to the amount of details and nonlinear timeline and the tons of characters. Really liked the ending!
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this story. I found the reader to be good and the story to be so entertaining. It was the perfect book to listen to during Christmas break.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks so much for giving me access to the audiobook for this book! I've listened to sooo many books narrated by Soneela Nankani and she's one of my favourite narrators! 

In terms of the plot, characters, etc.... I loved the premise of the book.. but found that since there were SO MANY characters to keep track of and because of that, I got lost quite a bit..
Was this review helpful?
Dava Shastri is a self made billionaire and a philanthropist.  She has four loving children.  When she learns she has terminal cancer, she decides to take matters in her own hands.  She publishes her obituary before her death so she can see what folks have to say about her.  And, the news is not all wonderful.  Many old secrets come out that she thought were long buried. Now everyone, including her children, know about her life and choices.  She must find closure with her family before it is too late. The book tackles, with humor, the questions of celebrity, ones legacy and family dynamics.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to @netgalley @grandcentralpub @hachetteaudio for the ALC and a for a copy of the book in return for my honest review. 
.
My thoughts…
Thought-provoking. This was a really good debut novel from Kirthana Ramisetti. 
I’m not a big fan of family dramas, but I enjoyed this one. It helped that I listened to it. Because,  reading it would have annoyed me, since pretty much all the characters were selfish. But, that made the book good, because the characters were developed well. Also, there were many characters in here that you need to keep tracked. I was hoping we could listen to the original song, lo and behold, it was in the epilogue. That was great. 
.
.
Was this review helpful?
Written in a fictional autobiographical style, this book tells the story of an Indian Elitist who has strived to make a name for herself and the legacy she wants to leave behind. While celebrating the holidays with her kids and grandchildren on her private island, Dava is pronounced dead and she and her family are forced to read and listen to the stories written about her life and career as many family secrets are uncovered. 

But honestly, while a sentimental story about being a woman, immigrant and self starter, most of the characters including Dava were pretty selfish and I didn’t side with any of them.  I listened to this as an audiobook and it was way more enjoyable than if I were to read it, I could just imagine scenarios instead of having to keep track of characters names; also there were some fun moments including an original song that was actually played at the epilogue of the book which was pretty cool. 

Thank you Netgalley for an Advanced Readers Copy in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Dava Shastri is about to die. She has a terminal illness and her health is failing rapidly. She has called her family to her private island to share her last day with them, and have them around her when she finally receives her treatment for assisted suicide.

What follows is an account of her relationship with each of her children, plenty of flashbacks of Dava's life, her husband, her parents, her businesses and charitable endeavours, and her trials and tribulations as a wife and mother of four, despite being a famous personality.

Her adult kids, Arvi, Sita, Kali and Rev, each have a different relationship with their mother, and they all try to come to terms with their feelings for her, whether good or uncomfortable.

Add to all this is an account of Dava's happy relationship with her husband, a rumoured affair with a rock star, and a huge secret from her youth that is finally disclosed.

As a character, I didn't really like Dava. She seemed too self-obsessed and primarily concerned about her image. The fact that she has her obituary published before her actual death (inadvertantly) and then spends all her time reading every little snippet that has been written about her a day before her death seemed quite vain and shallow. 

There was too much talk about money and inheritance and wealth and legacy, rather than about family dynamics, which is what I expected in a book such as this. I really felt that if Dava has spent more time with her kids while they were growing up and less time being so blindly ambitious, her kids would have been more sorted. Her treatment of Chaitanya was also very un-cool, even if she had her own justification for it. 

The book tends to drag on at times, with unecesseary banter between the characters and flashbacks-so many flashbacks! Till the end, I still found myself trying to like Dava (but not succeeding). Another annoying character was Rev's fiancee, Sandy, and I was quite satisfied about the way things played out between them in the end.

Oh, and if you HATE having a ton of characters populating a story, then you're going to have a bit of a tough time with this one. 

I give this one 3.5 stars, since it had the potential to be a deeper and more meaningful account of a family's story of love and growth, and how the demise of a matriarch could have brought them together, but in the end, it ended up being all about Dava and her self-obsession.

Thanks to Hachette Audio, Grand Central Publishing & Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Was this review helpful?
The concept of this one was great off the bat. However, I felt it was missing something for me. The narrative was a bit slow and repetitive. Dava Shastri gives me major Evelyn Hugo vibes and I enjoyed comparing the drama between those two characters. The audiobook was fantastic however. I really enjoyed listening to it and I think it helped me through the slower parts.
Was this review helpful?
What would you do if you knew you were going to die soon?

In Dava Shastri’s Last Day, billionaire philanthropist Dava has recently found out she is going to die from a brain tumor, so she takes control of the situation. She calls her children to spend the holidays at her private island, and leaks the news of her death early - so she can read the obituaries and spend her last days with her family in peace. What she doesn’t expect is for her biggest secrets to come out.

I LOVED this book. What an interesting perspective on legacy, forgiveness and love. The complexities of her family and her death really got me thinking. I loved getting the perspectives of so many characters and different time periods. Dava herself was a very unique character. She has so many layers to her and it made for a very compelling read.

I was thankful to have both a physical copy and an audiobook because I did not want to put this down and flew through it in a day. Both formats were phenomenal, but I especially loved the song at the end of the audiobook.

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing and Hachette Audio for the gifted copies.
Was this review helpful?
2021 will go down as the year I gained an appreciation for family drama novels. I grew up in a small family and the dynamics of large, messy families have always intrigued me. DAVA SHASTRI’s last day centers around a multicultural family as the billionaire matriarch, Dava, faces the end of her life. 

Dava chooses to release news of her death prior to actually dying in an attempt to experience the world’s reaction. Dava has always done things in an unconventional manner, so choosing to die on her own terms is no shock to her adult children. What does come as a shock are the secrets that emerge as Dava’s time comes to an end. 

I loved the way Dava reflected on her life, contemplating her missteps as a mother and wife, as well as her greatest contributions: her children. The story lost a bit of momentum in the middle portion and I felt that some of the characters could have used a bit more development. Overall, it challenged me to consider my own life and the legacy I would like to leave behind for my family. 

I enjoyed the audiobook narrated by Soneela Nankani as she brought the family tension and emotions to life. This was an entertaining debut and I look forward to reading more from Kirthana Ramisetti. Dava Shastri’s last day is a Good Morning America Book club pick and will surely lead to interesting discussions!

RATING: 3.5/ 5 stars (rounded up to 4)
PUB DATE: 11/30/21 (available now!)

A big thank you to Netgalley, Grand Central Publishing, and Hachette Audio for an ALC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this family drama. The characters were dynamic, and each had an interesting story. I didn’t mind rhe length of the audiobook because the story was intriguing from start to finish.
Was this review helpful?
Book: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ maybe ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Narration: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@soneela was AMAZING)

Dava Shastri’s last days are framed by her reading the obituaries written for her. Will she like what the media has to say? Will she like what her children have to say?

I was given an advanced copy of this audiobook (out now!) in exchange for an honest review. Thanks @netgalley and @hachetteaudio!

This is @kirthanaramisetti’s debut novel and I can’t wait for more from her. I loved the way this book explored family, legacy, sibling relationships, and philanthropy. I was sucked into the life of the Shastri-Person family.

Read this book if you…
💜Have ever wondered what will be said about you after you die
💜Love your siblings fiercely but argue with them constantly
💜Enjoy jumping timelines
💜Like character driven stories that still have a strong plot 

I will say, I was happy I listened to the audiobook. I think the book book may have taken me a bit to get through. This is a FULL story with lots of details. That said, I didn’t feel like any detail was excessive or unnecessary. They all contributed beautifully to the tapestry of this story.
Was this review helpful?
This expansive family drama debut from author Kirthana Ramisetti follows philanthropist and billionaire Dava Shastri, the matriarch of a big family, on her last day alive. Dying of lung cancer, Dava decides to end her life on her own terms. Before that moment comes, she alerts the press that she has already died and gathers her children, their significant others, and her grandkids at her large home off of Long Island. While there and trapped by a huge storm, family secrets are revealed, family members interact, and Dava, an Indian woman who yearns for the clout and accomplishments of JD Rockefeller, tries to counteract the media's sensational narratives about her life by inspiring her children and grandchildren to carry on her legacy. 

I listened to the audiobook of this novel and the narrator, Soneela Nankani, does a wonderful job portraying this cast of many (too many) characters. This novel is stuffed with characters, storylines, and conflict. Dava's story, rightly, intrigues above them all...but it's so compelling and so interesting, I became somewhat bored with all the other drama that was happening with the rest of the characters. Also they didn't really seem very distinct from one another. One other quibble--the story supposedly takes place in 2044, but I didn't really get a feel for anything "futuristic" in the details Ramisetti shares in each scene.  

That said, Dava is a wonderful character and absolutely the star of this novel. Complex and distinct, she's a force of nature with a complicated core. I loved how the stereotypical narrative is reversed--she's the breadwinner and strong personality of her marriage, while her husband is the more docile one who handles the domestic chores and childrearing. She makes no apologies for her ambition and her yearning to be remembered in a certain way (particularly as a credit to her ethnicity), which is refreshing. And while she is strong in her convictions, she's still relatable in questioning her life choices and how vulnerable she is when her life nears its end.

I enjoyed this book and the emotive narration by Nankani, but the storylines were still a bit too convoluted for me to be fully invested in the secondary characters and their stories. If you're a fan of messy, dramatic, family-centered novels, you'll absolutely enjoy this debut.
Was this review helpful?
Dava Shastri's Last Day by Kirthana Ramisetti is about an Indian-American billionaire matriarch on the cusp of death. She invites her adult children and their families for a gathering on her own remote private island. News of her death reaches the media right before she plans to end her life due to a terminal diagnosis. Unbeknownst to her family, they are gathering for her final days. Dava made her money by selling a music platform and has devoted her life to her foundation. She was married to a Swedish man who died two decades prior and had four children with. 

We meet each of the Shastri-Persson siblings in a different phase of their life, struggling with their own relationships and now the looming end of their mother's life. Family secrets are revealed and we learn more about Dava and the sometimes complicated way she lives her life. She can be controlling and narcissistic, but she was also fascinating and inspiring in her ambition. We learn about her life, while she ponders her past, marriage, children, death, and her larger influence. It's curious to see how her privileged adult children are seemingly immune to the hazards of a precarious outside world in 2045 when the story is set. I loved seeing how family relationships developed in the short amount of time spent on the island. Music provides a textured backdrop to the events of Dava's lives and a playlist would be a perfect accompaniment to this book. This was my favorite part of the book. I listened to the audiobook which is wonderfully narrated by Soneela Nankani. Overall, a very readable and interesting multi-layered family story. 

Thank you Hachette Audio and NetGalley for providing this ARC.
Was this review helpful?
Dava Shastri is dying.  She is a billionaire who, having profitably sold off multiple startups, runs her own global charity foundation and initiatives.  She has planned her own assisted death on her private island off the East coast of USA and has gathered together all her children and their families.  She has also already announced her death to the world so that she can examine the reactions while she is still alive.  Read the book to know what unfolds on the island as Dava awaits her dying day. A novel about a multi-cultural and highly dysfunctional family, the book explores the complex relationships between the various players as they indulge in soul-searching in the wake of their mother's impending death. Narrated in a series of flashbacks and current events,  I listened to the audiobook by Soneela Nankani who rendered a great performance as usual.

Thank you Net Galley and Grand Central Publishing for the Advance Copy.
Was this review helpful?
Many thanks to NetGalley, Grand Central Publishing and Hachette Audio for gifting me both a digital and audio ARC of the debut novel by Kirthana Ramisetti, beautifully narrated by Soneela Nankani (with a surprise recording at the end!) - 4 stars.

Dava Shastri has assembled her 4 children and their families to her remote island.  Unbeknownst to them, she has a terminal illness and has decided to end her life on her own terms with her family present - and so that she can be alive to read her obituaries.  She is a self-made billionaire philanthropist and expects to read glowing reports of all her many accomplishments.  But word of her death is leaked to the media early and she must now tell her children as well as deal with some of the press fallout, which deals with secrets Dava wanted to take to her grave.

This is a multi-generational family saga with each of the 4 children having an assigned role in their family and the family business with varying degrees of success and fulfillment.  It's the story of family secrets and how they are almost impossible to keep quiet.  But it's ultimately a love story on lots of different levels, with all its inherent complications.
Was this review helpful?
This story is a unique take on how people deal with their own end of life, and it is told in a style that is both lighthearted and thought-provoking.  Dava Shastri is a wealthy matriarch who decides to publish her own obituary before her death when she is diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, so that she can see how people respond to it.  She then invites her entire extended family to a private island to spend her last days with her, and in that time all her secrets come out, as well as the secret desires of her children and grandchildren. The story is very entertaining, not at all what I predicted, and thoroughly enjoyable.

The audiobook is narrated by Soneela Nankani, who is one of my favourite narrators from The Rajes series, A Burning, The Damage, and many others.  She does a great job on this book too, and I would never have known how to pronounce some of the Indian names and foods in the story without her.  The audiobook also ends with a surprise song recording!  What a perfect ending to a great audiobook experience... I highly recommend it.
Was this review helpful?
A big-hearted multi-generational family story about a South Asian family, their complicated relationships, and the secrets that come to light one weekend when the matriarch of the family, Dava, calls everyone home to say goodbye. Excellently narrated by one of my favs, Soneela Nankani and highly recommended for fans of Saumya Dave. Much thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my ALC!
Was this review helpful?
Dava Shastri's Last Day, following a billionaire philanthropist and her family during her last day of life, had a really solid foundation, but lacked certain personalizations that made the book stand out as more endearing and memorable.

This book has almost everything set up for success: a dual-time narration in the vein of Evelyn Hugo, a large cast of developed characters, an interesting, messy main character and a fantastic premise. All those things alone place this book above average in terms of quality, but in terms of reading experience... I just felt that there was something missing. The book had an almost clinical feel at times even as such compelling plot points were set into motion. This lack of memorable personality brought the book down from being a solid 5 star masterpiece to a 4 star interesting, but at times unenjoyable read.

The cast of this book is very big: we get perspectives from Dava as well as all of her children, as well as stories about Dava's past friends, and current family members, all in all making for a cast of about 15 characters who's names you have to remember for the story to make sense. One main complaint I've seen in many advanced reviews of this book is how that made the book harder to read--I didn't have that experience, which I think may be attributed to the audiobook experience of consuming the novel. For me, the large cast of characters felt realistic, and enriching to the story, and I think listening to the audiobook was helpful to reinforce those names in my mind for later retrieval. 

I really enjoyed how each of the characters (except for Arvie, for some reason) was given a fleshed out, compelling backstory heightening the realism of the dreaded family reunion plot.  Re: Arvie, his character was largely used to move things along until the end of the book (last 10 pages) where he suddenly got a plot. As the only LGBTQ main character I would've really liked to have been hearing more from him throughout the entire book, especially when he had such a backstory that it could've easily been done. 

Overall, this book had all the ingredients to become a Great™️ but was ultimately just missing that special sauce that would make this book a really memorable experience. I really enjoyed the experience of listening on audiobook, as the narrator was great and it added a nice layer of immersion into the story, though the quality was a bit tinny.
Was this review helpful?
Dava Shastri has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. She fakes her death so she can read and hear all the things people will say about her after her death. She kind of traps and tricks her family, asking them to come for a trip together where they are surprised and blind sided by the news of their mother's "death". As she tells them of her illness, they all have to work through their own thoughts, worries, and feelings throughout their time together.

This was an okay read for me. I just didn't like Dava, and the traits I didn't like in Dava were passed down to her children making all the characters less than enjoyable for me. The story itself was interesting, but the characters were a disappointment.
Was this review helpful?