Paul Tremblay’s The Last Conversation is part of Forward, a collection of six stories of the near and far future from...

THE LAST CONVERSATION

What’s more frightening: Not knowing who you are? Or finding out? A Bram Stoker Award–winning author explores the answer in a chilling story about identity and human consciousness.

Imagine you’ve woken up in an unfamiliar room with no memory of who you are, how you got there, or where you were before. All you have is the disconnected voice of an attentive caretaker. Dr. Kuhn is there to help you—physically, emotionally, and psychologically. She’ll help you remember everything. She’ll make sure you reclaim your lost identity. Now answer one question: Are you sure you want to?

Paul Tremblay’s The Last Conversation is part of Forward, a collection of six stories of the near and far future from out-of-this-world authors. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single thought-provoking sitting.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: B07VDJBGRY

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Amazon Content Services

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2019

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Soft-focus story moves right along with few surprises. This time around, Hannah avoids the soap-opera complications of her...

DISTANT SHORES

Another middle-aged mom in a muddle.

After years of false starts and big hopes, Elizabeth’s ruggedly handsome husband Jack, a former football star, just landed a spot as a sportscaster on national news. He still loves her, even though much younger women are giving him come-hither looks. Heck, he doesn’t want to betray the love of his life after she helped him kick drugs and stuck by him even when he was a struggling has-been. And won’t it seem hypocritical if he fools around with his sexy assistant while he does in-depth reporting on a rape case involving a famous basketball center? Well, he fools around anyway. Elizabeth, nicknamed Birdie, knows nothing of this, but she withdraws from Jack when her hard-drinking, salt-of-the-earth father has a stroke and dies. Now no one will call her “sugar beet” ever again. Time to return home to Tennessee and contend with Anita, the sort-of-evil stepmother so trashy she wears pink puffy slippers all day long. Naturally, it turns out that Anita actually has a heart of gold and knows a few things about Birdie’s dead mother that were hushed up for years. Mom was an artist, just like Birdie, and an old scandal comes to light as Anita unrolls a vibrant canvas that portrays her secret lover. Perhaps, Birdie muses, her mother died of heartbreak, never having followed her true love or developed her talent. Has she, too, compromised everything she holds dear? Hoping to find out, Birdie joins a support group that promises to reconnect confused women with their passion. She and Jack separate, prompting a how-dare-you fit from their grown daughters. Will Birdie fly her empty nest? Will she go back to college for a degree in art? Will her brooding watercolors ever sell?

Soft-focus story moves right along with few surprises. This time around, Hannah avoids the soap-opera complications of her previous tales (Summer Island, 2001, etc.).

Pub Date: July 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-345-45071-X

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2002

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THE PEARL

Steinbeck's peculiarly intense simplicity of technique is admirably displayed in this vignette — a simple, tragic tale of Mexican little people, a story retold by the pearl divers of a fishing hamlet until it has the quality of folk legend. A young couple content with the humble living allowed them by the syndicate which controls the sale of the mediocre pearls ordinarily found, find their happiness shattered when their baby boy is stung by a scorpion. They dare brave the terrors of a foreign doctor, only to be turned away when all they can offer in payment is spurned. Then comes the miracle. Kino find a great pearl. The future looks bright again. The baby is responding to the treatment his mother had given. But with the pearl, evil enters the hearts of men:- ambition beyond his station emboldens Kino to turn down the price offered by the dealers- he determines to go to the capital for a better market; the doctor, hearing of the pearl, plants the seed of doubt and superstition, endangering the child's life, so that he may get his rake-off; the neighbors and the strangers turn against Kino, burn his hut, ransack his premises, attack him in the dark — and when he kills, in defense, trail him to the mountain hiding place- and kill the child. Then- and then only- does he concede defeat. In sorrow and humility, he returns with his Juana to the ways of his people; the pearl is thrown into the sea.... A parable, this, with no attempt to add to its simple pattern.

Pub Date: Nov. 24, 1947

ISBN: 0140187383

Page Count: 132

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1947

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