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Last Light over Carolina

4 Ratings: 1.8
A book by Last Light over Carolina (9781416549703)

From the bestselling author ofTime Is a RiverandSwimming Lessonscomes a serviceable novel set in present-day coastal South Carolina. The tale follows shrimp boat captain Bud Morrison, and his wife, Carolina, through one eventful day. Despite their ardent … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Last Light over Carolina (9781416549703)
Publisher: Pocket
1 review about Last Light over Carolina

Nice story, good characters, overuse of flashback storytelling

  • May 26, 2010
I had the pleasure of reading Ms. Monroe's last book, Time Is a River, and enjoyed it quite a lot. Last Light over Carolina has some similar themes--marital infidelity, soul searching, a traumatic illness or event, and a strong female character--but I didn't find these themes explored quite as successfully here as in her previous book (or perhaps it was just that this story wasn't as good a match to my own interests).

Last Light explores the decline of the shrimping business in the low country of South Carolina. For generations, families in that area have lived off the proceeds of their shrimping boats but, as more shrimp is imported, less local shrimp is being purchased. As a result, these families aren't able to make a living on the water anymore. Most of them don't know any other way to make a living.

Bud and Carolina Morrison, the book's main characters, are at heart good people whose marriage is strained by their economic situation and by Bud's pride. I enjoyed the Carolina character and understood that it is difficult to keep a marriage (or even a friendship) close when one of the pair is away for months of the year and away many hours of the day even when in home port.

I disliked the way Bud and Carolina's story is told via the use of frequent flashbacks. Every time one of them reflects on a past experience, we jump into the way-back machine and off we go to relive the past for several pages. While I completely understand that knowing what Bud and Carolina have been through in the past helps the reader better understand what is happening in the now, I felt that this device was tremendously overused. In fact, after multiple flashbacks, I started to hear Wayne & Garth (in their infamous Saturday Night Live sketch with Madonna) in my head, parodying the ridiculous way in which TV and movies often transition to these flashbacks (the fade-out with wacky music).

The real strength of this book is in the love between these two people and in the traumatic event that occurs in the last half of the book. The last quarter of the book, as this event comes to a climax, was tremendously tense and exciting--without question, the best part of the book in my opinion. If only the entire book had carried more of that level of passion, emotion and excitement.

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