The widower Hayden McBride, a 55-year-old Scottish-born American, is taking the news of his impending demise from liver cancer extremely well, with an irrepressible wry wit, an atheist's view of the hereafter, a businessman's attention to his funeral arrangements, and the cavalier attitude of a person who's lived life to its fullest.
Rosamond Rodgers, a 40-year-old nun in the last cloistered convent in Brooklyn, is not taking similar news nearly as well. And when they accidentally meet it becomes a race to see who might convert whom, as well as a chance to ask if God is punishing them or whether dying young is just bad luck. Should they live for today or for their spiritual rewards? Is assisted suicide in the face of terminal illness a sin? And of course, should they have a fling before dying?
Meantime, Hayden's 34-year-old daughter Diana has moved in. She's a sexy single mom with a penchant for artistic types who can't pay the bills. Diana is overprotective of her ailing father and her 11-year-old asthmatic son, who Hayden is constantly sneaking off to funerals as part of his "death research," while claiming they're attending baseball games.
Though LAST CALL was already underway before 9/11, the novel is in part one of my responses to that event. Having worked on Wall Street for many years, I lost more than a handful of friends on that fateful day. The attack on America was in part a result of clashing faiths. Thus in "Last Call" I am wondering if it's possible to resolve religious differences, or at least learn to live in peace with them.
"This book will make you laugh and cry and like a good friend,
you'll be happy to have made its acquaintance."
author of Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons
and Oh My Stars
"Pedersen writes vividly of characters so interesting, so funny and
warm that they defy staying on the page."
-The Hartford Courant
"[M]oving and funny…As she did in Beginner's Luck, Pedersen
teases comic and romantic possibilities from the unlikely
collision of strong personalities."
"Laura Pedersen's wry, bittersweet story charts the unlikely
romance between a dying yet still vibrant man and a nun whose
faith has abandoned her. While much is lost in this gentle tale,
much is gained too, and by the novel's end, the characters are
granted the kind of wisdom and acceptance for which we all
continue to long."
author of The Four Temperaments
"Last Call is a funny tale about human foibles and faults, and
a search for life, faith and love. It's a charmer."