Rory Buchanan has it all: looks, talent, charisma - an all-around good-guy, he's the centre of every party and a loving father and husband. Then one summer's afternoon, tragedy strikes. Those who are closest to him struggle to come to terms with their loss. Friendships are strained, marriages falter and loyalties are tested in a gripping and brilliantly crafted novel about loss, grief and desire. Told from the points of view of nine of the people who are mourning Rory, this riveting novel presents a vivid snapshot of contemporary suburban Australia and how we live now. Marriage, friendship, family - all are dissected with great psychological insight as they start to unravel under the pressure of grief. The characters live on the page; their lives are unfolded and their dilemmas are as real as our own. Last Summer is a stunning novel about loss - the terrible pain of losing a husband, brother or friend - but also all those smaller losses that everyone must face: the loss of youth, the shattering of dreams, the fading of convictions and the change in our notions of who we thought we were. It is also about what comes after the loss: how we pick up the pieces and the way we remake our lives.
Kylie Ladd is the author of After the Fall, Naked: Confessions of Adultery and Infidelity, and Living with Alzheimer's and Other Dementias.