In villages on the way, people fed us with bread and milk — that was all they had. We had no money. I left the house with nothing but a kerchief, and mama for some reason ran out in a winter coat and high-heeled shoes. We were fed for free; no one made a peep about money. Refugees came pouring in crowds. Then someone in front sent word that the road ahead had been cut by German motorcyclists. We ran back past the same villages, past the same women with jugs of milk. We came to our street. Several days ago it was still green, there were flowers, and now everything was burned down.
Nothing was left even of the centennial lindens. Everything was burned down to the yellow sand. The black earth on which everything grew disappeared somewhere; there was only yellow sand. Nothing but sand. As if you were standing by a freshly dug grave Factory furnaces were left. They were white, baked by the strong flame. Nothing else was recognizable Grandmothers and grandfathers and many small children had burned.
We walked and if you saw a black corpse, it meant a burned old man. If you saw something small and pink from a distance — it meant a child. They lay pink on the cinders Mama took off her kerchief and covered my eyes with it. So we reached our house, the place where our house had stood several days ago. We were met by our miraculously spared cat. She pressed herself to me — that was all. No one could speak She was silent for several days. Everybody became mute. I saw the first fascists, not even saw but heard — they all had iron-shod boots, they stomped loudly.
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Others will have memories that it would make their lives easier to have someone else forget. Unfortunately, once he's removed a memory from your mind, h In a world that is recognizably not our 18th or early 19th century, the teller of this tale is a man with an interesting talent.
Unfortunately, once he's removed a memory from your mind, he has it in his--forever. And some of the people he does business with are dangerous men, who might want to eliminate the last "last witness. That's when he discovers there's someone else in the world who has his talent, and even fewer ethical standards.
It's someone to whom he has a connection that painfully close. What follows is a battle of wits, political intrigue, and painful choices for our storyteller, who freely admits he's "no angel. And he'll use all the skills he's acquired from memories stolen over the years to do so with no harm to himself, and minimum harm to innocent bystanders. It's a complicated story, and our narrator would be the last one to claim that he's in any way a reliable narrator. He remembers everything, but often can't keep track of which memories are his own and which originally belonged to someone else.
He also won't hesitate to lie. At first I though this was going to be a mildly interesting but not compelling story.
In the end, I found that somewhere along the line, I'd been completely drawn in and cared deeply what happened to this character and his, ah, the other person. I listened to this in the Tor. Aug 17, unknown rated it it was amazing Shelves: , novella. If there is one thing you can be sure of when it comes to a KJ Parker novella, it's that it will stab you in the gut and twist the knife.
They probably lose their effectiveness after a while but I don't think I have read enough of them yet. This one is built on a particularly strong conceit that allows for a perfectly logical and fair presentation of last-minute twists. Also: still can't believe this guy is pun-lover Tom Holt. Dec 19, Lanko rated it it was amazing Shelves: , favorites.
“They lay pink on the cinders”
Devoured this today. Awesome novella, with an awesome power that leaves you thinking. Some good philosophical bits as well. Don't really have much else to say about it View all 5 comments. May 03, Joel rated it it was amazing Shelves: audiobooks.
- Finding a Spiritual Path Through Posttraumatic Stress Disorder;
- The Last Witness.
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- Mieux comprendre les expulsions locatives ou Comment sortir du pétrin ?: Tout savoir sur les expulsions locatives ! (French Edition).
- Review: 'The Last Witness' is a Predictable Post-WWII Drama.
- The Hollow Tree and Deep Woods Book being a new edition in one volume of The Hollow Tree and In The Deep Woods with several new stories and pictures added.
The prose in this one is smooth, more in a full-novel format than many novellas, which makes it a fairly easy read, and the pages just fly by. The premise is very interesting - the last witness has the power to enter someone's mind, and remove memories; unwanted in most cases, but this power is vast, and he can do it without the people desiring the memories be taken. This is, of course, a very useful, powerful, and lucrative talent to have.
However, as you would imagine, there are quite a few risks associated with this, and possessing knowledge of many things is not always a safe place to be. In this line of work, our narrator comes across unsavory characters looking to cover illegal activities, which they are often paranoid about covering.
Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, as the last witness 'absorbs' that persons memories into his own, it begins difficult for him to differentiate which memories are his own, versus those of other people, and this distinction becomes more and more difficult as time goes on. As you can imagine, this leads to an unreliable narrator, one struggling with memories and visions, and having minor identity crisis.
The difficult narration of the story is handled brilliantly, the prose is entertaining, yet cuts to the point with a terrific level of skill. It stays entertaining throughout, and is absolutely a rapid page turner throughout it's relatively limited duration.
And, speaking on the duration - it was just right for a novella, in my opinion. It did not drag out, yet did not skimp on details or writing, and stuck around long enough to do what it needed to, and not overstaying it's welcome. A lot of fun, and very enjoyable. Rating: 4. The summary tells you all you need to know before reading this short book, but some good reviews give more thoughts to consider after reading.
Seth Miranda -Photographer- Last Witness
Thoroughly enjoyed this unusual, intriguing story. He became exactly how I imagined the chilling first person narrator would be and I believe in this instance the audible version is better than reading the book. It has been suggested the main cha The summary tells you all you need to know before reading this short book, but some good reviews give more thoughts to consider after reading. It has been suggested the main character was unreliable but, truly, how can we be sure? Left me with much to think about, what memories would I choose to forget and how would it affect my life?
Glad to recommend. Jul 23, Steve Kimmins rated it it was amazing Shelves: fantasy , k-j-parker.
My third KJ Parker book, only pages long and another standalone book, but the darkest and deepest so far. And stunning too.