Last House

A Novel

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Pub Date 14 May 2024 | Archive Date 09 Jul 2024

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Description

"An ambitious historical epic that doubles as an intimate family saga. Jessica Shattuck captures and connects it all—the imperial ambitions of the postwar generation, the rebellion of their offspring in the Sixties, and the fallout we’re still sifting through today. . . . This is a wide-ranging novel to savor.” — TOM PERROTTA

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Women in the Castle comes a sweeping story of a nation on the rise, and one family’s deeply complicated relationship to the resource that built their fortune and fueled their greatest tragedy, perfect for fans of The Dutch House and Great Circle.

It’s 1953, and for Nick Taylor, WWII veteran turned company lawyer, oil is the key to the future. He takes the train into the city for work and returns to the peaceful streets of the suburbs and to his wife, Bet, former codebreaker now housewife, and their two children, Katherine and Harry. Nick comes from humble origins but thanks to his work for American Oil, he can provide every comfort for his family, including Last House, a secluded country escape. Deep in the Vermont mountains, the Taylors are free from the stresses of modern life. Bet doesn’t have to worry about the Russian H-bombs that haunt her dreams, and the children roam free in the woods. Last House is a place that could survive the end of the world.

It’s 1968, and America is on the brink of change. Protestors fill the streets to challenge everything from the Vietnam War to racism in the wake of MLK’s shooting—to the country's reliance on Big Oil. As Katherine makes her first forays into adult life, she’s caught up in the current of the time and struggles to reconcile her ideals with the stable and privileged childhood her Greatest Generation parents worked so hard to provide. But when the Movement shifts in a more radical direction, each member of the Taylor family will be forced to reckon with the consequences of the choices they’ve made for the causes they believed in.

Spanning multiple generations and nearly eighty years, Last House tells the story of one American family during an age of grand ideals and even greater downfalls. Set against the backdrop of our nation’s history, this is an emotional tour de force that digs deeply into questions of inheritance and what we owe each other—and captures to stunning effect the gravity of time, the double edge of progress, and the hubris of empire.

"An ambitious historical epic that doubles as an intimate family saga. Jessica Shattuck captures and connects it all—the imperial ambitions of the postwar generation, the rebellion of their offspring...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780062979896
PRICE $28.00 (USD)
PAGES 336

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Average rating from 111 members


Featured Reviews

I have just read three superb books about Vietnam by women, written from women’s’ points of view and from three different perspectives. What a trio! Kristin Hannah, Alice McDermott and Jessica Shattuck have created three novels about this era in our history that are all worthy of praise. Shattuck’s book is the most literary. I had to stop and reread so many paragraphs that were so clever and insightful I took notes to reread later. Her novel is brilliant. Sometimes one word suffices. The Taylor family is her focus and the novel spans the forties to the present… 2026 is the end date so Jessica takes us beyond the present. Frankly, I wondered about her motives in added that fillip at the end. The family dynamic is related in sections devoted to each member and we are introduced to mother, father, sister and brother from mostly Katherines’s point of view. She is the hippie, anti war, anti establishment daughter who personifies the young people who so vociferously opposed the Vietnam war and its atrocities. She takes us on our journey through this era in our history and although I grew up in this era, I felt I never experienced it as I did reading this novel. I was again appalled at our country’’s involvement. A concurrent theme is her father’s history as a lawyer for the oil industry involved with the Shah of Iran and his reinstatement as leader of this oil rich nation. Both intersect as we meet the cast of characters. LAST HOUSE is their summer home in Vermont and a crucial part of the family history. I found the title ironic and meaningfully chosen. I have chosen this book for my book club discussion. The combination of history, family dynamics, and politics makes for an unforgettable literary experience.

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This talented author has written a page turner. It was intriguing to read about the years I have lived...America and all of its changes...historical fiction that reads like nonfiction...even the title is "different"...the Last House...that is what caught my eye at first. Then reading about the happenings during the time that I was growing up...that was the icing on the cake...seemingly historically accurate...that made the book even better. Curl up by a cozy fire and be whisked away to the past...enjoy...Thanks Netgalley.

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Thank you Netgalley & William Morrow Publishing for an eARC ♥️♥️♥️

"Last House" is a sweeping story that spans many years of American history. It follows the Taylor family, who become wealthy thanks to the oil industry. They have a special retreat, called Last House, where they can escape the world's troubles. But as the years go by, the family faces challenges and changes that make them question their beliefs and values.

I'm a total sucker for family sagas, and this one hooked me from the start! I love how the story unfolds through the eyes of different family members, showing how their lives intersect and influence each other. Jessica Shattuck’s writing is beautiful, making the story come alive.♥️You'll be drawn into the Taylor family's struggles and triumphs, and you'll finish the book with a new perspective on life.

If you're like me and love getting lost in a good family saga, "Last House" is a must-read. It's a story that will stay with you long after you finish reading it, making you think about your own family and the legacy you want to leave behind.

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Loved this story about a family’s triumphs, tragedies and survival during the turbulent 1960’s, 1970’s and beyond. It was a refresher in US History and the complicated international problems of the time. Had forgotten about the Weather Underground bombings, demonstrations and counter culture that boldly thought to change the US. After the passage of fifty plus y ears those influences were muted and the family at the heart of the novel is what mattered.

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Many thanks to NetGalley and William Morrow for the opportunity to read Last House by Jessica Shattuck. An important book. More gold stars needed!
No one could sum it all up any better than this -
"An ambitious historical epic that doubles as an intimate family saga. Jessica Shattuck captures and connects it all—the imperial ambitions of the postwar generation, the rebellion of their offspring in the Sixties, and the fallout we’re still sifting through today. . . . This is a wide-ranging novel to savor.” — TOM PERROTTA

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