Last Orders

Publisher: Vintage Canada
Last Orders is the story of four men once close to London butcher Jack Dodds, who meet to carry out his last wish: to have his ashes scattered into the sea. The men, whose lives revolve around work, family, the racetrack and their favourite pub, must make their way down to a seaside town to complete the task. Through conversation and memory they trace the paths they have followed by choice and by accident; through the Second World War and its aftermath, through the dramas of family life, and their relationships with each other. In their brilliantly realized, richly nuanced voices, Swift has created a narrative language that perfectly expresses not only the comforts of old habits and friendships, but also the complexity and courage of ordinary lives.



It aint like your regular sort of day.

Bernie pulls me a pint and puts it in front of me. He looks at me, puzzled, with his loose, doggy face but he can tell I don't want no chit-chat. That's why I'm here, five minutes after opening, for a little silent pow-wow with a pint glass. He can see...
Read More


The questions, discussion topics, and author biography that follow are intended to enhance your group's reading of Graham Swift's Last Orders. We hope they will enrich your experience of this brilliant and challenging new novel, the winner of Britain's prestigious Booker Prize.

The central event of the novel...
Read More


"Graham Swift's finest work to date: beautifully written, gentle, funny, truthful, touching and profound." -- Salman Rushdie

"A profound, intricately stratified novel full of life, love lost and love enduring." -- The Globe and Mail

"Swift has crafted a minor masterpiece, full and satisfying." -- Edmonton Journal

"Last Orders is that rare thing: literary art. It's a marvellously constructed, delightfully written, moving story." -- Ottawa Citizen

"The Booker triumph of Graham Swift's moving, effortlessly profound Last Orders is a vindication of the quiet, much-misunderstood path this fine writer chose to take after the brilliance of Waterland more than ten years ago."-- Kazuo Ishiguro

"Deeply moving--. Swift has made us love these characters. The impression we carry away is not the futility of life, but the amazing courage of human beings." -- The Toronto Star

"Last Orders works its magic calmly and delicately." -- Montreal Gazette

"Book for book, Swift is surely one of England's finest living novelists--. The tale he tells is as affecting as it is convincing." -- New York Review of Books

"An amazing novel--. A truly virtuoso performance--. A metaphor of the journey we all take." -- Ann Beattie

"One reads a novel such as Graham Swift's Last Orders with a small, still sense of gratitude, somehow heartened that ordinary lives have not been overlooked, small yearnings not gone unrecorded, final wishes not been dismissed." -- Washington Post Book World

"A novel of impeccable authenticity, and certainly the author's best since Waterland." -- New York Times Book Review