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The Last Man [Kindle Edition]

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $0.00

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Book Description

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Morton D. Paley is Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley. He is co-editor of Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly.

Product Details

  • File Size: 660 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0486471225
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00847OOMG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,336 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking book of uncommon beauty December 23, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I'll admit that as a fan of post-apocalyptic novels, I went into this book with certain expectations since I knew that it was about the last man alive on earth. Instead, I encountered a book which is mostly a debate about the purpose of man, love, art, and other "big ideas."

Most modern books of this sort spend 10 pages on life "before" and the remainder of the book on adjusting to life "after." Shelley uses the opposite approach in The Last Man, and the majority of the book takes place before a mysterious plague begins to destroy the fabric of civilization. Shelley's writing is beautiful and intelligent, and her characters are highly idealized - but no more so than you would expect in a book that is presented as the memoirs of the last man alive on earth.

I think the best way for the modern reader to approach this book is with an open mind. At the beginning, I was constantly looking for clues and signs of some impending doom, and Shelley does nearly everything possible to prevent the reader from foreseeing when and how things will begin to come apart. I would recommend trusting in her ability as an author and just giving yourself over to this book. That's what I did after a few chapters, and I was pleasantly surprised by the twists and turns. Shelley focuses entirely on the human drama with little attention to the science behind the plague. She herself was the lone survivor of her group of friends and she outlived most of her children, and I think you can feel her pain and loneliness in the narrator, Verney.

This book is beautifully written and the characters debate some of the major philosophical issues of the time (of all times, perhaps). While the subject itself is melancholy, Shelley is protective of her readers and spares us most of the grim details.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
“The last day passed thus: each moment contained eternity; although when hour after hour had gone by, I wondered at the quick flight of time. Yet even now I had not drunk the bitter potion to the dregs; I was not yet persuaded of my loss; I did not yet feel in every pulsation in every nerve , in every thought that I remained alone of my race, — that I was the LAST MAN.”

Verney tells the story of his life. Through mistakes of his father, he and his sister, Perdita, are cast out of a happy life into one of poor lonely orphans. He forms a plan of vengeance against the people who brought this ruin. The main culprit was the king, who is dead. When the king’s son, Adrian, comes to Verney’s town he sets his plan in motion. However, Adrian turns out to be a great supporter of Verney’s late father. Verney rises from his life of despair and longing with the help of Adrian, who becomes his lifelong best friend. This circle of six friends: Verney, Perdita, Adrian a poet and intellectual , Raymond a hero nobleman (who marries Perdita) , Adrian’s sister, Idris (who marries Verney) and Evadne, a Greek princess, have many ups and downs in their lives . Eventually, most end up married with children and quite happy and settled. But Perdita’s husband, Raymond, cheats on her with Evadne. So Perdita leaves Raymond. A war between the Greeks and the Turks break out and Raymond fights in it as does Evadne. She dies on the battlefield and Verney finds her body and buries her. As Raymond is on his death bed form mortal war wounds, Perdita goes to him and forgives him. When he dies, she kills herself.

Soon after this an epidemic begins. It’s unknown what causes it or how it spreads. It goes from country to country. England is still untouched by it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tale of loneliness January 3, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This may be Mary Shelley's forgotten treasure. The first post-apocolyptic novel, her victorian style is not suited to the dis topic reality she conjures. Mostly you feel the emotions of isolation, loneliness and powerlessness, an emotional backdrop that stemmed from the loss of both her child and beloved husband in real life.

This novel has the classical use of the modern English language with the romantic values of its age, yet with vision employed within the post-modern themes of existence, humanity and moral critique all within the expanse of human extinction. A paradoxical universe that see's not only the clash within personality within the human drama, but stylistically between the romanticist and the rationalist literature. It is compelling, and in a way timeless, for the genre it presaged. I recommend
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I feel like a literary trash talker in this moment. Hopefully Shelley will forgive me. Yes, I love literature and really like contemporary post-apocalyptic stories as well. It is my weakness, that and spicy dark chocolate. However, I could not find a way to read and enjoy this book. It was terribly disturbing as, obviously, Shelley is a well regarded fiction writer. I may try to return to the book in the future and see if my taste has matured (or something like that). You, however, may love this book. Happy reading~*
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Little known but worth reading. January 28, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A very talented writer, but this isn't nearly as good as Frankenstein-- but it's still far better then Twilight :) Shelley focuses on the character and the emotion, very philosophical , the language is the flowery speech of the era, and creates a humanist drama while you wait for the shoe to fall.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars This book is terrible enough to make it into the introduction of my...
I can be even more insensitive than normal with this review because Mary Shelley is very dead. This book is terrible enough to make it into the introduction of my first book as... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Nick Angelis
3.0 out of 5 stars Important early fantasy novel
Interesting for its historic value to science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts.
Published 4 months ago by Rand B. Lee
4.0 out of 5 stars The Last Man~~definitely not last in race
This is the only other book I've read by Mary Shelly other than Frankensten. While it was a very good book on its own,I guess I'm tainted a bit by "Franks" majestry and... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ralph DeThomas
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
I do not think you can write about the future if you live i the past
Published 6 months ago by Hazel Anderson
2.0 out of 5 stars The book just went on too long to really enjoy. It was more of a...
You're in for extensive, superfluous language and over the top wallowing by the narrator. The book just went on too long to really enjoy. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Plague
I use to think Frankenstein was Mary Shelley's only novel. Turns out she wrote many other books including this tale about the last survivor of a world wide plague.
Published 8 months ago by Ricky KImsey
1.0 out of 5 stars I did not like it
I did not like it.
Published 8 months ago by Salvatore A. Fattoross
2.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't finish it
Last year I read 100+ books, I couldn't finish this one, complicated and boring.

I like very much SF and go for all good novels, can read Nietzche or else, but this was... Read more
Published 11 months ago by reader
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate dystopian novel
Mary Shelley isn't known for writing much other than Frankenstein but, in my opinion, this should be called her masterpiece. Read more
Published 13 months ago by grant18
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather Boring
One of the most boring novels I ever read. The only interesting element of the story is that it gives you a glimpse into Mary Shelly's relationship with Percy Shelly and Lord... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Balthasar
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