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Every Last Cuckoo [Kindle Edition]

Kate Maloy
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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

From 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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"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 (MSNBC.COM )

"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 Olympia Olympian )

"A striking portrait of a marriage that is as imperfect and amiable as its participants."--Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews )

"A wonderful story of human potential and what is possible when strangers become family. . . . This heartwarming tale is an excellent read."—Roanoke Times (Roanoke Times )

"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 (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, 3-star review (People Magazine )

"This lovely tale depicts the surprises and changes that come about with aging. . . .Maloy 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."--Library Journal (Library Journal )

"[A] moving debut novel. . . .Maloy's wordplay and startling nature imagery enchant."
Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly )

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 Olympia Olympian )

A striking portrait of a marriage that is as imperfect and amiable as its participants.--Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews )

A wonderful story of human potential and what is possible when strangers become family. . . . This heartwarming tale is an excellent read.Roanoke Times (Roanoke Times )

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 (MSNBC.COM )

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 (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, 3-star review (People Magazine )

This lovely tale depicts the surprises and changes that come about with aging. . . .Maloy 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.--Library Journal (Library Journal )

[A] moving debut novel. . . .Maloy's wordplay and startling nature imagery enchant. Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly )

Product Details

  • File Size: 364 KB
  • Print Length: 292 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B003ZK512O
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books; Reprint edition (May 12, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008RPFJCO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,076 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A WONDERFUL, HEARTFELT READ January 1, 2008
Format:Hardcover
I hated when Every Last Cuckoo by Kate Maloy ended--the sign of a truly good book! I wanted to learn more about characters that I had come to feel I knew. The characters are so well drawn and fully fleshed out that it doesn't take long before you feel you know them and would be more than happy to have them in your home.
This is the story of Sarah and her long marriage to Charles. After Sarah loses Charles to an accident, we see Sarah's devastating grief, feel her despair. But circumstances keep Sarah from isolating herself with her grief. Sarah starts taking in struggling and lost souls, people who need a place to rest and recuperate from what life has handed them. And while Sarah still grieves for Charles, she becomes comfortable in this new part of her life.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a warm-hearted story of love and loss, living your life the best way you can under hard circumstances. Ms. Maloy has done a truly outstanding job with this book and I look forward to more books by her.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant look at life February 13, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Kate Maloy takes a common situation, the death of a spouse, to ruminate on what truly is important in one's life. At age 75, Sarah mourns her beloved Charles, but before she can become embedded in her grief unexpected situations force her forward movement. Three teenagers, all lost in their youthful insecurity and pomposity, find lodging in Sarah's abode as well as a mother and son, misplaced by a vicious fire that kills the husband. Add to this mix an abused wife with a baby, a Jewish scholar from Israel and you have a melding of human kind struggling together in Sarah's home toward normal if the state exists. From each of their situations, Sarah gleans a stronger understanding of purpose, and perhaps more importantly, acceptance.

In this gently paced tale Maloy never preaches wisdom; she uniquely opens it for consideration. What do we do when life throws punches and we aren't equipped to fight back? Train in the safe arena of friends till we have the tools to protect our hearts and souls? Find new avenues to contentment? Accept and let be? Maloy is lyrical in her proposed solutions and that highlights this lovely work.

A beautiful, wonderfully composed gift to the world of the written word.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book with a soul and a conscience January 18, 2008
Format:Hardcover
This was a kind book, and smart, and I found myself deeply caring about every one of the large cast of characters -- and I had no trouble keeping them straight in my mind, which is something. There was a true warmth to it -- sweet and a bit sentimental without being in any way mawkish or ever ringing false. The small adjustments we all constantly make in our lives in order that they be good and so that we can live with ourselves and each other -- Kate Maloy captures the dynamics of family, and humanity, with real soul. This book made me feel good.

The heroine, Sarah, is my new role model for growing old. Now if only I can figure out how to move back to Vermont...
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comforting & thoughtful can be delicious January 26, 2008
Format:Hardcover
This isn't a whoop-em-up novel with lots of hot action ... it is a story with pace that works for thinkers and readers, for those who have a taste for content, wisdom, exquisite environs. Maloy's Vermont is a place I'd love to live in although I'm snow phobic -- her small-town is idylic enough without being impossible. When I grow old (in the not too distant future) I'd be thrilled to be half as generous, compassionate and content as Sarah. I'm thinking that, as the so-called baby-boomers age, there's going to be increasing demand for literature that intersects their history, stories and age. Kate Maloy had got it nailed.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful Premise....Too much for one book July 24, 2008
Format:Hardcover
I found this book in my local library as I was stocking up on books to read for the summer. I am absolutely amazed how many people gave this book such high marks. I struggled to finish the book as I felt it was lacking in sufficient and realistic character development, a focused plot, creativity and realism in characters' problem solving strategies, and included an unrealistic and hokey ending that made me laugh at its absurdity.

There were way too many characters introduced in this book, none developed well enough besides Sarah. There were several beautiful scenes that demonstrated her relationship with her husband Charles, but overall, the plot wandered and didn't get to the "meat" of the story until too late in the book. Once characters began facing their problems, they were solved too neatly. I found myself shaking my head many times thinking, "teenagers don't act that way" or "a mother would never allow her daughter to do that". The mother-daughter relationships and the ridiculous discussions with the teenage girl about drugs and sexuality did not develop in a natural way. Extraordinary situations (i.e. a group of teenagers living in Sarah's cottage for several months without direct adult supervision) were entirely unbelievable for me.

Ms. Maloy had a thoughtful premise in writing this story, but her true purpose gets lost amongst an army of characters, cheesy dialogue, and unrealistic development of the plot and problems. It's been a long time since I've struggled to finish a book because of these issues. Not a book I'd recommend. You can find Ms. Maloy's message in so many other stories and books, that it's not worth the time for "Cuckoo". To discover a stronger read having to do with a friendship between an older and a younger woman, try "Astrid and Veronika"...it's a beautiful and well directed story. Then compare to "Cuckoo". Hope this helps!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Kept me reading
I wanted to find out as much as I could about all the characters in the book. Sarah's gift was hospitality. She followed her instincts. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Linda J. Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars Not so cuckoo!
Beautifully written, moving story of life, love, loss, aging and recovery of spirit and purpose. The characters are deliciously real and everyday. I couldn't put it down. Read more
Published 3 months ago by P. Hackett
4.0 out of 5 stars The first half of this book was excellent. The author was able to make...
The first half of this book was excellent. The author was able to make the reader feel very deeply for the characters in a very short time. Read more
Published 6 months ago by swimmom
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wonderful love story.
Published 8 months ago by CAMPBELL GILLIES
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful, touching read
This is now one of my favorite books ever. Touching but down-to-Earth story about love, loss, and forward movement in life. I loved it!
Published 8 months ago by Sue E. Wildt
2.0 out of 5 stars Just my opinion, could have been so different.
I started out really liking this book. The long time marriage with all its ups and downs, in and outs, I could truly identify with. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Bee
5.0 out of 5 stars A very thought-provoking wonderful engaging read!
It didn't take long to get engaged with the characters and wonder where the story would go. Once into the story it became hard to put down, eager to see where everyone's lives... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Bajalady
2.0 out of 5 stars The first 50% was torture
I'll come right out and say it - I didn't care for this book. In fact, when I reached the halfway point and had no interest in any of the characters or the plot I put the book... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Courtney Birst
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
Good book ... I enjoyed it! It makes you ponder all that life is about - good and/or bad. Definitely recommend.
Published 11 months ago by Lady T
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
The phrasing in places was beautiful. The story interesting. Good for people about to retire, but I am sure others would really enjoy it.
Published 12 months ago by Slow Walker
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