The Last Conversation

Reviewed by Amy Gruzesky

“WOW!” I actually said that out loud when I finished reading the Last Conversation by Paul Tremblay.

This short story — only 56 pages long — packs a punch and an impact that makes you feel as though you’ve read an entire novel — and it will definitely stay with you for awhile. I found myself thinking about it while driving, and at random points during the day.

When I first started reading it, I have to admit I regretted my selection, but … opted to ‘muddle through’ it. I am so glad I did — as this story blends psychological thriller with suspense with the ethics and morals of modern technology (I won’t tell you how, as it will spoil the ending).

While I did find the first dozen or so pages a bit confusing and not overly interesting, I soon found myself drawn into the situation facing the main character, who is never named in the entire story, and what his end would be. Confusing and uninteresting turned into a page turner that found me to the end quicker than I expected — and shocked, exhausted and wanting more. To me, the mark of a truly good story or book.

The story, about a man with no real memory of who he is or was, save for the memories told to him by Dr. Anne, is held captive in some sort of scientific facility. We experience with him his confusion, his gradual learning of how to function in this environment, and the slowly unraveling mystery of him and Anne and their past life together.

The story, available through Amazon Prime, is part of a new venue called Amazon Original Stories. In this particular collection, called The Forward Collection, there are six stories, and this is the one I chose.

Blake Crouch created the selection after a debate with his partner on some emerging technology he’d read about in Scientific American. Wanting to know what other writers would write when presented with the same topic, he contacted some whose works fascinated him and ended up with this collection.

He says in his afterword that the writers he employed for this series did not disappoint, and I have to agree. Based on this particular story, I plan on continuing to read the others he assembled, and am hoping for even more.

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