Free Public Library
Every Last Cuckoo
Kate Maloy is the story of
seventy-five-year-old Sarah Lucas and her
husband, Charles, who succumbs to an injury
at the peak of a particularly brutal Vermont
In grief, Sarah’s memories take her
back to the Great Depression, when her
parents generously opened their home to
countless friends and relatives, and to her
own regretted missteps as a parent. The
chance to recreate the one experience and
rectify the other arrives uninvited when a
variety of lost souls seek shelter and solace
in Sarah’s too empty home. Together Sarah
and her boarders discover unseen beauty in
the landscape, uncover hidden talents and
develop a nurturing, healing community.
Maloy is the author of the memoir A Stone
Bridge North: Reflections in a New Life.
Her work has been published by LiteraryMama.com,
VerbSap.com, and the Readerville
Journal. She has forthcoming pieces in
the Kenyon Review and two anthologies:
For Keeps and Choice. She lives
with her husband on the central coast of
Oregon, where she is working on a second
Leavitt says that the book is "A
luminously textured novel that insists
that grief need not diminish a life but
instead can offer up a bounty of
surprises, that choices don't have to
narrow as we age but in fact can grow
more plentiful, and finally, and most
important, that love can be as open and
expansive as the sky itself.”
Do you agree with Leavitt?
did you learn about grief and grieving
while reading this book?
and Sarah have a decades-long marriage, a
tender, steady domestic partnership that
is the reward of a lifetime of shared
experiences, both good and bad.
What about their life together
prepares Sarah (and the reader) for the
rest of the book?
you surprised as a reader by Charles'
death, which arrives unexpectedly for
Sarah halfway through the book?
does Sarah replace the life she had
anticipated as a solitary widow by new
pleasures and frustrations?
Do you agree with Sarah when she
likens the way her house fills with
boarders to the way in which a cuckoo
inserts itself into the nest of another
bird and make its home there?
first book was a memoir entitled A
Stone Bridge North.
Because it also involved the
Quaker faith in the northern setting of
Vermont, it is easy to conclude that
Maloy is still exploring personal things
about herself in her first novel.
What things were easier for Maloy
to explore in a work of fiction?
includes wordplay and nature imagery in
her spare and unassuming prose.
Did you like the literary style in
which the book was written?
teenaged granddaughter and two of her
friends live with Sarah for the summer.
Is their behavior plausible?
What about the other characters
that Maloy brings to live with Sarah?
Why does Maloy make each seem more
agreeable than the last?
the spectacular climax, an expression of
its characters’ principles in action,
out of place with the novel’s quiet
reviewer on loadedquestions.blogspot.com
asked Maloy, “…Out of the great
ensemble you have created to write
another novel about, which one would you
Maloy said, “I love them all and
would find it difficult to choose.”
Do you have a favorite character?
you like to read a sequel?
Why or why not?
Partially adapted from
reviews and information found in Publishers
Weekly, Boston Globe, www.barnesandnoble.com,