A beautifully rendered family drama set in Dover, England, between the 1940s and the present day, The Last Wave follows the life of Martha, a woman who has swum the English Channel ten times, and the complex relationships she has with her husband, her children, and her close friends. The one constant in Martha’s life is the sea, from her first accidental baptism to her final crossing of the channel. The sea is an escape from her responsibilities as a wife and a mother; it consoles her when she is diagnosed with cancer; and it comforts her when her husband’s mind begins to unravel.
An intergenerational saga spanning six decades, The Last Wave is a wholly authentic portrait of a family buffeted by illness, intolerance, anger, failure, and regret. Gillian Best is a mature, accomplished, and compelling new voice in fiction.
The characters in The Last Wave are layered, imperfect and real. Each is trapped by the confines of family life and yet by realizing enormous, seemingly impossible dreams, they ultimately set themselves free. It’s a brilliant illustration of how family relationships change and adapt in different stages of our lives — in childhood and parenthood, and through illness, failure, and success. Scenic and true-to-life, The Last Wave will inspire readers right up to the last page.
Those who liked The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry will enjoy Gillian Best’s The Last Wave for its quiet, intense examination of a woman fleeing British familial agony for the sea’s thrilling embrace.
As in the sea so in life, we are something submerged and fight to rise, sometimes carried and lifted by others to less shifting ground. In this deftly woven and haunting debut novel, Gillian Best brings us, in many voices an across and through time, those who are submerged and carried, who fight and rise.