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Every Last One (Anglais) Broché – 22 mars 2011

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Extrait

This is my life: The alarm goes off at five-thirty with the murmuring of a public-radio announcer, telling me that there has been a coup in Chad, a tornado in Texas. My husband stirs briefly next to me, turns over, blinks, and falls back to sleep for another hour. My robe lies at the foot of the bed, printed cotton in the summer, tufted chenille for the cold. The coffeemaker comes on in the kitchen below as I leave the bathroom, go downstairs in bare feet, pause to put away a pair of boots left splayed in the downstairs back hallway and to lift the newspaper from the back step. The umber quarry tiles in the kitchen were a bad choice; they are always cold. I let the dog out of her kennel and put a cup of kibble in her bowl. I hate the early mornings, the suspended animation of the world outside, the veil of black and then the oppressive gray of the horizon along the hills outside the French doors. But it is the only time I can rest without sleeping, think without deciding, speak and hear my own voice. It is the only time I can be alone. Slightly less than an hour each weekday when no one makes demands.

Our bedroom is at the end of the hall, and sometimes as I pass I can hear the children breathing, each of them at rest as specific as they are awake. Alex inhales and exhales methodically, evenly, as though he were deep under the blanket of sleep even though he always kicks his covers askew, leaving one long leg, with its faint surgical scars, exposed to the night air. Across the room Max sputters, mutters, turns, and growls out a series of nonsense syllables. For more than a year when he was eleven, Max had a problem with sleepwalking. I would find him washing his hands at the bathroom sink or down in the kitchen, blinking blindly into the open refrigerator. But he stopped after his first summer at sleepaway camp.

Ruby croons, one high strangled note with each exhale. When she was younger, I worried that she had asthma. She sleeps on her back most of the time, the covers tucked securely across her chest, her hair fanned out on the pillows. It should be easy for her to slip from beneath the blanket and make her bed, but she never bothers unless I hector her.

I sit downstairs with coffee and the paper, staring out the window as my mind whirrs. At six-thirty I hear the shower come on in the master bath. Glen is awake and getting ready for work. At six-forty-five I pull the duvet off Ruby, who snatches it back and curls herself into it, larval, and says, “Ten more minutes.” At seven I lean over, first Alex, then Max, and bury my nose into their necks, beginning to smell the slightly pungent scent of male beneath the sweetness of child. “Okay, okay,” Alex says irritably. Max says nothing, just lurches from bed and begins to pull off an oversized T-shirt as he stumbles into the bathroom.

There is a line painted down the center of their room. Two years ago they came to me, at a loose end on a June afternoon, and demanded the right to choose their own colors. I was distracted, and I agreed. They did a neat job, measured carefully, put a tarp on the floor. Alex painted his side light blue, Max lime green. The other mothers say, “You won’t believe what Jonathan”—or Andrew or Peter—“told me about the twins’ room.” Maybe if the boys had been my first children I would have thought it was insane, too, but Ruby broke me in. She has a tower of soda cans against one wall of her bedroom. It is either an environmental statement or just one of those things you do when you are fifteen. Now that she is seventeen she has outgrown it, almost forgotten it, but because I made the mistake of asking early on when she would take it down she never has.

I open Ruby’s door, and although it doesn’t make a sound—she has oiled the hinges, I think, probably with baby oil or bath oil or something else nonsensically inappropriate, so we will not hear it creak in the nighttime—she says, “I’m up.” I stand there waiting, because if I take her word for it she will wrap herself in warmth again and fall into the long tunnel of sleep that only teenagers inhabit, halfway to coma or unconsciousness. “Mom, I’m up,” she shouts, and throws the bedclothes aside and begins to bundle her long wavy hair atop her head. “Can I get dressed in peace, please? For a change?” She makes it sound as though I constantly let a bleacher full of spectators gawk as she prepares to meet the day.

Only Glen emerges in the least bit cheerful, his suit jacket over one arm. He keeps his white coats at the office. They are professionally cleaned and pressed and smell lovely, like the cleanest of clean laundry. “Doctor Latham” is embroidered in blue script above his heart. From upstairs I can hear the clatter of the cereal into his bowl. He eats the same thing every morning, leaves for work at the same time. He wears either a blue or a yellow shirt, with either a striped tie or one with a small repeating pattern. Occasionally, a grateful patient gives him a tie as a gift, printed with tiny pairs of glasses, an eye chart, or even eyes themselves. He thanks these people sincerely but never wears them.

He is not tidy, but he knows where everything is: on which chair he left his briefcase, in what area of the kitchen counter he tossed his wallet. He does something with the corners of his mouth when things are not as they should be—when the dog is on the furniture, when the children and their friends make too much noise too late at night, when the red-wine glasses are in the white-wine glass rack. It has now pressed itself permanently into his expression, like the opposite of dimples.

“Please. Spare me,” says my friend Nancy, her eyes rolling. “If that’s the worst you can say about him, then you have absolutely no right to complain.” Nancy says her husband, Bill, a tall gangly scarecrow of a guy, leaves a trail of clothing as he undresses, like fairy-tale breadcrumbs. He once asked her where the washing machine was. “I thought it was a miracle that he wanted to know,” she says when she tells this story, and she does, often. “It turned out the repairman was at the door and Bill didn’t know where to tell him to go.”

Our washer is in the mudroom, off the kitchen. There is a chute from above that is designed to bring the dirty things downstairs. Over the years, our children have used the chute for backpacks, soccer balls, drumsticks. Slam. Slam. Slam. “It is a laundry chute,” I cry. “Laundry. Laundry.”

Laundry is my life, and meals, and school meetings and games and recitals. I choose a cardigan sweater and put it on the chest at the foot of the bed. It is late April, nominally spring, but the weather is as wild as an adolescent mood, sun into clouds into showers into storms into sun again.

“You smell,” I hear Alex say to Max from the hallway. Max refuses to reply. “You smell like shit,” Alex says. “Language!” I cry.

“I didn’t say a word,” Ruby shouts from behind the door of her room. Hangers slide along the rack in her closet, with a sound like one of those tribal musical instruments. Three thumps—shoes, I imagine. Her room always looks as though it has been ransacked. Her father averts his head from the closed door, as though he is imagining what lies within. Her brothers are strictly forbidden to go in there, and, honestly, are not interested. Piles of books, random sweaters, an upended shoulder bag, even the lace panties, given that they belong to their sister—who cares? I am tolerated because I deliver stacks of clean clothes. “Put those away in your drawers,” I always say, and she never does. It would be so much easier for me to do it myself, but this standoff has become a part of our relationship, my attempt to teach Ruby responsibility, her attempt to exhibit independence. And so much of our lives together consists of rubbing along, saying things we know will be ignored yet continuing to say them, like background music.

Somehow Ruby emerges every morning from the disorder of her room looking beautiful and distinctive: a pair of old Capri pants, a ruffled blouse I bought in college, a long cashmere cardigan with a moth hole in the sleeve, a ribbon tied around her hair. Ruby never looks like anyone else. I admire this and am a little intimidated by it, as though I had discovered we had incompatible blood types.

Alex wears a T-shirt and jeans. Max wears a T-shirt and jeans. Max stops to rub the dog’s belly when he gets to the kitchen. She narrows her eyes in ecstasy. Her name is Virginia, and she is nine years old. She came as a puppy when the twins were five and Ruby was eight. “Ginger” says the name on the terra-cotta bowl we bought on her first Christmas. Max scratches the base of Ginger’s tail. “Now you’ll smell like dog,” says Alex. The toaster pops with a sound like a toy gun. The refrigerator door closes. I need more toothpaste. Ruby has taken my toothpaste. “I’m going,” she yells from the back door. She has not eaten breakfast. She and her friends Rachel and Sarah will stop at the doughnut shop and get iced coffee and jelly doughnuts. Sarah swims competitively and can eat anything. “The metabolism of a hummingbird,” says my friend Nancy, who is Sarah’s mother, which is convenient for us both. Nancy is a biologist, a professor at the university, so I suppose she should know about metabolism. Rachel is a year older than the other two, and drives them to school. The three of them swear that Rachel drives safely and slowly. I know this isn’t true. I picture Rachel, moaning again about some boy she really, really likes but who is insensible to her attentions, steering with one hand, a doughnut in the other, taking a curve with a shrieking sound. Caution and nutrition are for adults. They are young, immortal.

“The bus!” Alex yells, and finally Max speaks. This is one of the headlines of our family life: Max speaks. “I’m coming,” he mumbles. “Take a sweatshirt,” I call. Either they don’t hear or they don’t care. I can see them with their backpacks getting on the middle-school bus. Alex always goes first.

“Do we have any jelly?” Glen asks. He knows where his own things are, but he has amnesia when it comes to community property. “It’s where it’s always been,” I say. “Open your eyes and look.” Then I take two jars of jelly off the shelf inside the refrigerator door and thump them on the table in front of him. I can manage only one morning manner, so I treat my husband like one of the children. He doesn’t seem to mind or even notice. He likes this moment, when the children have been there but are suddenly gone. The dog comes back into the room, her claws clicking on the tiled floor. “Don’t feed her,” I say, as I do every morning. In a few minutes, I hear the messy chewing sounds as Ginger eats a crust of English muffin. She makes a circuit of the house, then falls heavily at my feet.

After he has read the paper, Glen leaves for the office. He has early appointments one day a week and late ones three evenings, for schoolchildren and people with inflexible jobs. His office is in a small house a block from the hospital. He pulls his car out of the driveway and turns right onto our street every single morning. One day he turned left, and I almost ran out to call to him. I did open the front door, and discovered that a neighbor was retarring the driveway and a steamroller was blocking the road to the right. The neighbor waved. “Sorry for the inconvenience,” he called. I waved back.


From the Hardcover edition. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Revue de presse

"Every Last One is a breathtaking novel. Quindlen writes superbly about families, grief and betrayal. I was completely mesmerised by this book and Mary Beth and the Latham family will stay with me for a long time to come" (Lisa Jewell)

"Every Last One, the eloquent sixth novel by former New York Times columnist Anna Quindlen, moves, in the turn of a page, from cosy, slow-burning American pastoral to the gripping stuff of nightmares" (Guardian)

"Engrossing . . . A spellbinding tale" (New York Times)

"Quindlen's sixth novel is as devastating in its emotional impact as it is devastatingly well-crafted... Writing with relentless and dazzling brilliance, Quindlen grapples with the lancing pain and the swirls of disorientation experienced by anyone who has loved and lost." (Daily Mail)

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4.5 étoiles sur 5
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Par Pascale Bookine TOP 500 COMMENTATEURS le 11 septembre 2011
Format: Broché
En dépit de ce qui arrive à la moitié du livre -et qu'il est hors de question de vous révéler :-) -, "Every Last One" ne peut effectivement pas être considéré comme un thriller, autant le dire tout de suite: pas beaucoup d'action, rythme lent, et on se demande pendant une bonne partie du livre où cette description de la vie ordinaire d'une famille va nous mener. Si vous espérez de l'action ou des rebondissements, passez votre chemin, vous serez déçus.

Néanmoins, il faut reconnaître que ce livre a d'autres qualités, notamment un certain réalisme dans les personnages et l'évocation de la vie quotidienne d'une famille de trois enfants, et ce que j'appellerais une patience littéraire: l'histoire se dévoile petit à petit, les "révélations" sont discrètes mais interpellent, et l'événement central -que l'on sent venir sans savoir vraiment ce qui va se passer- fait figure d'électrochoc dans une lecture jusqu'alors plutôt paisible et anodine. Enfin, Anna Quindlen écrit joliment et son exploration du chagrin est à la fois fine et émouvante.

Une lecture à aborder un peu comme un tableau impressionniste, des petites touches subtiles qui une fois assemblées produisent une autre réalité à laquelle on se surprend à repenser une fois le livre refermé. Certains aspects laissent sans doute à désirer et le contenu m'empêche de qualifier la lecture de plaisante, mais l'ensemble reste intéressant et touchant.
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Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Wonderful descriptions of everyday life lead to an unexpected climax. The writing continues to hold you tight to this story of a woman coping with life and tragedy.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta) (Peut contenir des commentaires issus du programme Early Reviewer Rewards)

Amazon.com: 4.2 étoiles sur 5 529 commentaires
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 I Want to Meet These People! 30 juillet 2016
Par cristina - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
This is not my first Anna Quindlen novel, but so far it is my favorite. I felt like a voyeur participating in the daily life of a "typical" American family. But of course, there is no such thing. This is a novel centering on the mystery of the Latham family dynamics and bonds that will be cruelly destroyed. How does this happen? Who is at fault? Can any of us ever control future developments? And , most importantly, can we recover and turn our faces to the sun after the unthinkable occurs? In Quindlen' s inimitable style, we get to accompany memorable characters that I for one would like to include in my circle of friends. You will want to also!
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 I am so ambivalent about this book, nearly gave it 5 stars and I do recommend it 1 mai 2010
Par Kcorn - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
I still am ambivalent about this book even as I greatly admire the author's skill in tackling such a tough subject. I have no idea how she managed to create such believable characters as well as write about an incident that could break anyone's spirit. I am not going to put spoilers into this review except to say that what I THOUGHT was going to happen was different than what did happen during the climax of this book.

Everything else revolves around that central event, although it doesn't occur until halfway through this book, giving plenty of time to read about a family's life, tensions and everyday routines. There is clearly a problem lurking, a foreshadowing of a terrible event but..I don't think Quindlen gives too much away. Instead, she shows her usual skill in creating characters that readers can understand.

The woman at the heart of this book,Mary Beth Latham, is so involved with her family that she has only about an hour of free time a week. Even though I cut myself more slack now, I remember the early days of parenting and how hard it was to find any free time. Mary Beth's children aren't so young, but even so it is rough going for Mary Beth to keep track of their moods and activities.

It isn't going to be a surprise to any readers to discover that one son in this story is heading towards depression. That is foreshadowed early on. What is less obvious is where the story is going to go.

I do not believe I could survive what Mary Beth Latham went through and I had to keep reminding myself that this was - and is - fiction. But even now I can not think of this book without crying. I can't decide if it was meant to be strongly realistic, inspirational - or both. But I could not lean towards optimism after reading this one, even though I rooted for Latham and would love to know how her life turned out. I'd eagerly read a sequel to this book. Perhaps, in time, I will have a different take on Every Last One. This book cuts to the bone and if you are looking for a sunny, easy read...look elsewhere.

Having noted that, when Quindlen's newest book comes out, I'll be eagerly looking to read it. She has such talent, even when writing about difficult subjects. I can't help wondering if she felt depressed or haunted for awhile after she finished writing this or if it had a cathartic effect on her.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 very real... 19 mai 2010
Par Joyce - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This is a well-written novel...I sped through it, then wished I'd taken more time.

What did I come away with? As a parent, I can say that it is extremely easy to miss warning signs, extremely common for otherwise attentive, intelligent parents (and, yes, well-educated) to be in denial about the states of mind of our kids and their friends. We do after all wish them health and happiness. Incessant questioning can drive them further afield; taking on someone else's child as a "project" is almost always dangerous. Quindlen mentions (cannot find the page) that all of that concern about potty-training, preschool, the minor issues of raising small children pale in relation to what happens to them in the later, real, world. Aren't our concerns so petty at the beginning of the child's life, and aren't we helicoptering when we should be listening?

This is my first Quindlen book, but I was a fan of her NYT columns many years ago. She did a sensible interview in Los Altos, CA on Mother's Day and read from this novel. There are already plenty of well-written, positive reviews in this space, so mine is not really necessary. As to the long build-up where "nothing happens"? Think of what the author was trying to say with the detail in the beginning of the story. As to the tragedy, I wish reviewers would not so generously give away plot points: Spoilers were not necessary in order to criticize the book.

The book would have gotten 5 stars from me had the foreshadowing been more subtle and had some of the "stretch your imagination" incidents been a bit more realistic...Won't give away the plot to cite an example, but I think it's clear if you read carefully. Also, I think the ending a bit weak, but am unable to come up with a better idea myself!

Immediately after reading "Every Last One" I read Anne Lamott's "Imperfect Birds" Imperfect Birds: A Novel. In reviewing the latter, I mentioned that had the stepdad in that novel been in charge of Quindlen's fictional family, the tragedy could have been averted! Would be interested in reading other readers' comparisons of these similarly themed stories.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 I cried. Read this book. 29 avril 2010
Par ProneToWander - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Commentaire d‘un membre du Club des Testeurs ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
Mary Beth Latham's life revolves around raising three teenagers and keeping up the home that "all the kids come to." Her marriage, her landscaping business, her world--all is content routine until one of her sons begins to exhibit signs of depression, until her daughter's long-time boyfriend refuses to accept the break-up. And until someone commits a hideous crime on New Year's Eve.

Because I figured out the crime before Amazon delivered the book (read the title; now look at the cover; now think), I nearly didn't order this one. I nearly missed this gem of literature. Anna Quindlen's prose wrings meaning from every word without becoming sparse, weaves beauty without becoming pretentious. Her pitch-perfect dialogue breathes life into characters constructed from intimate, endearing detail. The crushing crime doesn't happen until halfway through the book, and yes, the first 100 pages are a tapestry of an ordinary life. But Ms. Quindlen chooses each scene for a reason, never indulging in filler, and without the book's first half, its last half could not break the reader's heart.

What can I critique about this book? I wish the author would break paragraphs more often. That is literally the only negative thing I can say. (Look up my other reviews if you want to know how rarely--as in, never--this happens.) I don't know when a book last brought me to tears. This one did. Ms. Quindlen depicts human behavior in all its blind or willful egocentrism, all its momentary generosity, and all its in-between that we fail to notice. She paints mortality, reminds us that we will someday cease to be here. She paints grief in all its whelming tides and subtle undertows. She makes us wonder who we will miss someday, who we won't know well enough to miss, and what scraps of self we will leave behind when it comes our time to leave.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 This Novel Pulled Me In and Kept Me Up Past My Bedtime! 6 mai 2014
Par Donna Hill - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
When a book grabs me and I become lost in the story and I'm awake way past my bedtime, I have to send kudos to the author. This doesn't happen that many times. That said, I was largely bored by the first half of the book but once I reached the tragic part, the story became so much more weighty and dramatic. I would have enjoyed the first half more had there been more interaction between husband and wife or if the family struggles hadn't been lost in a sea of team sports and trivial arguments. This could be the type of thing that resonates with many so-called soccer moms today. I parented an only child who didn't play sports so it all became a blur to me. Oh, and something else that I notice other reviewers have mentioned--she had so many friends and acquaintances that it was hard to keep track of them all in addition to her children's friends. So many female names! I'd get mixed up--who are these females she has just encountered--her friends or her children's friends? I'll admit that I'm getting too old for a large mix of characters especially when they don't particularly distinguish themselves but just kind of melt into the crowd.

But once I got past all this, the story became the tragedy that it is and I cried a lot during the second half of the book. I was reading the interview with Quindlen at the end of the book and she claims that she and Mary Beth Latham have nothing really in common other than being married and having three children. But I would add one more thing--evidently there is a disbelief in an afterlife because Mary Beth feels that she will never see her family members again. Quindlen has no belief in an afterlife either. It is noted that someone removes all the sympathy mail Mary Beth receives that include mentions of "a better place" or an afterlife. Is it her mother? Perhaps. My memory fails me here. But I know that Quindlen mentioned in her memoir Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake that she was disturbed after her mom's death when people told her that her mom was in "a better place." She added that she did not then and still doesn't have a belief in life after death. To me, a belief in the afterlife offers a measure of comfort that is lacking when this belief is absent (my apologies to atheists, agnostics, and all non-believers in eternal life everywhere).

Don't look for any traditional happy endings here, but I will state that there is hope in the final pages. Mary Beth has a son whom she loves deeply, a mother who has become a friend, and some good women friends. One tends to feel that although her life is indelibly marked by deep tragedy that she could eventually taste true happiness in life.
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