The Last Romantics – The New York Times bestselling author of The House Girl explores the lives of four siblings in this ambitious and absorbing novel in the vein of Commonwealth and The Interestings.
“The greatest works of poetry, what makes each of us a poet, are the stories we tell about ourselves. We create them out of family and blood and friends and love and hate and what we’ve read and watched and witnessed. Longing and regret, illness, broken bones, broken hearts, achievements, money won and lost, palm readings and visions. We tell these stories until we believe them.”
When the renowned poet Fiona Skinner is asked about the inspiration behind her iconic work, The Love Poem, she tells her audience a story about her family and a betrayal that reverberates through time.
It begins in a big yellow house with a funeral, an iron poker, and a brief variation forever known as the Pause: a free and feral summer in a middle-class Connecticut town. Caught between the predictable life they once led and an uncertain future that stretches before them, the Skinner siblings—fierce Renee, sensitive Caroline, golden boy Joe and watchful Fiona—emerge from the Pause staunchly loyal and deeply connected. Two decades later, the siblings find themselves once again confronted with a family crisis that tests the strength of these bonds and forces them to question the life choices they’ve made and ask what, exactly, they will do for love.
A sweeping yet intimate epic about one American family, The Last Romantics is an unforgettable exploration of the ties that bind us together, the responsibilities we embrace and the duties we resent, and how we can lose—and sometimes rescue—the ones we love. A novel that pierces the heart and lingers in the mind, it is also a beautiful meditation on the power of stories—how they navigate us through difficult times, help us understand the past, and point the way toward our future.
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Video Review: The Last Romantics
“Tara Conklin is a generous writer who deftly brings us into the world of this fictional family, an engrossing and vivid place where I was happy to stay. The Last Romantics is a richly observed novel, both ambitious and welcoming.” (Meg Wolitzer)
“It is the strength and fragility of the siblings’ bond, the evolving nature of love that is at the core of Conklin’s novel….Gracefully rendered, The Last Romantics focuses on the familiar theme of family with great originality.” (Washington Post)
“Pick up The Last Romantics when you want to be swept into a fictional family….As the narrative traces [the Skinner siblings’] converging and diverging paths over the course of their lives—and promises made, kept, broken, changed—you’ll fall deeper and deeper in.” (Goop)
“Conklin examines her characters’ lives with generosity and an unflinching eye for the complexities of love and family…. Fans of Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections will find similar pleasures in the intelligence and empathy on display here.” (USA Today (four stars))
“A modern epic…in the vein of Commonwealth, THE LAST ROMANTICS is a sweeping look at what binds families together.” (Glamour)
“Perfectly paced, affecting fiction.” (Booklist)
“An intimate, soul-searing examination of a modern family and the ties that bind, for better or worse.” (Stefanie Hargreaves, Shelf Awareness Galley Love of the Week)
“Intensely moving.” (Shanina Piyarali, Shelf Awareness)
“An absorbing and redemptive novel of grace, craft and heroic characters.” (Berkshire Eagle)
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About the Author
ara Conklin was born on St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands and raised in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. She is a graduate of Yale University, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and New York University School of Law. A joint US-UK citizen, Tara now lives in Seattle. Her first novel, The House Girl, was a NYTimes bestseller, #1 IndieNext pick and Target book club pick. Her second, The Last Romantics, was published on February 5, 2019. Visit her at www.taraconklin.com
Originally published: 5 February 2019
Genre: Domestic Fiction