Every Last Cuckoo by Kate Maloy
Sarah and Charles Lucas have been married for somewhere around 50 years when he died unexpectedly. Although their marriage had its rough patches, it was by and large a happy one.
“Every Last Cuckoo” is a story of family and of finding your purpose in life. Although we know early on that Charles is going to die, the first half of the story goest back and forth between the period leading up to Charles’ death and the day of the event itself. The Lucases have a very normal family: nobody is having an out and out feud, but different children are closer to and more comfortable with different parents, there are some strained relationships, and everyone generally wants the best for everyone else. They all gather together for holidays, but don’t always have the smoothest gatherings.
When Charles passes away, Sarah has to learn to live without him both with the help of and in spite of her family. She falls, not completely of her own volition, into relationships with a variety of different people, all of whom show her that life is indeed worth living, even without her husband of so many years.
I really enjoyed this book. It was a read I just fell into. The best phrase I can use to describe “Every Last Cuckoo” is ‘comfortable,’ as ridiculous as it may sound, the book was a like a cozy old sweater. When I read the plot synopsis on the back of the book I was a bit afraid that the situations through which Sarah was going to end up in relationship with all of these people after Charles’ death would be contrived and silly, that she would come out seeming like some old hippy at a commune. Luckily that was not the case. Each of these relationships seemed to come about naturally, I never felt as if the author was intervening to MAKE anything happen, it simply felt like she was relating a story that happened in the way that it had to happen. When you consider that I am at the opposite end of life as Sarah – newly married with a first baby on the way to her 50 or so years of marriage and nearly-grown grandchildren – it is amazing how connected to her character I was.
Maloy has a lot of talent and has written a wonderful little novel. I definitely recommend this one. It also might make a good book for book clubs.